Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here is Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you know that every time you hear the Word of God—whether it’s in your quiet time, it’s on Revive Our Hearts or another Christian radio program, or it’s your pastor preaching—every time you hear the Word of God, you have got to do something about what you’ve heard.

Every time you don’t do something about what you’ve heard, do you know what you’re doing? You’re wearing a path across your heart where seed will not penetrate as easily the next time. You’re getting a hardened heart.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, November 29.

You’ve joined us in the last week of a special series called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Let’s join Nancy for more in this series, Seeking Him.

Nancy: “You who seek God, let your hearts revive.” That’s become one of my very favorite verses. It’s found in Psalm 69, verse 32: “You who seek God, let your hearts revive.”

That’s what we’ve been doing over these last twelve weeks, in a concentrated way—seeking the Lord. I hope you’ve been with us throughout that series, joining others who are seeking God—seeking to experience the joy of personal revival that’s found as we seek the Lord.

Through these weeks, I know that many people have been not only listening but responding to these basic truths of revival. They have been experiencing a fresh work of God’s grace in their own hearts as they’ve responded to these basic truths of humility, repentance, holiness, grace, forgiveness, and clear conscience.

If you’ve been with us through this series, you may be wondering at this point, as God’s doing this fresh work in your life, “Will it last?” Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t want to lose the revival that God has begun in my heart over these past weeks. How can I sustain that work of revival through my heart?”

The point I want to focus on today is so important. That is, you need to learn to guard your heart. 

Let me ask you to turn to the New Testament, to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 8. As you’re turning there, let me say that the condition of your heart at any given point is revealed by how you respond to the word of God. That’s what we’re going to see in this parable in Luke 8. At any given point, the condition of your heart is revealed by the way you respond to the Word of God.

Let’s begin in verse 4:

And when a great cloud was gathering and people from town after town came to [Jesus], he said in a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it.

And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (verses 4-8).

In other words, don’t just listen with your physical ears. Make sure you’re listening with the ears of your heart.

Now, after Jesus finished telling this parable, His disciples came to Him and said, “What does this parable mean? What were You trying to teach us through this?” And Jesus explains, beginning in verse 11: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

In each of these four instances, the seed was the same, and the sower was the same. The seed is the Word of God.

Now, let me back up a moment before I get into this passage. The primary interpretation of this passage, I believe, is referring to three different groups of people who do not possess salvation, compared to the fourth group, those who do.

By way of application, I think these four soils can also represent four different responses that believers sometimes have to the Word of God. The way we respond to the Word of God is determined by the condition of our hearts, and the soil in this passage is a picture of our hearts.

The seed was the same, the sower was the same, but what was different in each case was the soil. That’s what made the difference in the outcome.

What makes the difference in the outcome in your life is the condition of the soil of your heart. You can be any one of these four kinds of soil—any one of these four different heart conditions—at any given time, and it’s amazing how fast we can move from one to the other.

One day you may have a heart that’s good soil, but within 24 hours, did you know your heart can become hard soil? We’re going to see how that can happen.

Let’s look at these four different heart conditions, these four different kinds of soil. Verse 12: “The ones along the path are those who have heard.” What have they heard? The Word of God—the seed that’s been sown.

“Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

This is the hard path. This is the hard soil. The seed falls onto it, but the path has been worn because people have walked across this path over and over again. The seed doesn’t penetrate the soil. It just stays on the surface, so the birds come—or, as Jesus explained, Satan comes and takes away that seed, and it never produces fruit.

What does it mean to have that kind of heart? It’s a heart that is hearing the Word of God, but the Word isn’t penetrating because we’re not doing anything about what we’ve heard.

Do you know that every time you hear the Word of God—whether it’s in your quiet time, it’s on Revive Our Hearts or another Christian radio program, or it’s your pastor preaching—every time you hear the Word of God, you have got to do something about what you’ve heard.

Every time you don’t do something about what you’ve heard, do you know what you’re doing? You’re wearing a path across your heart where seed will not penetrate as easily the next time. You’re getting a hardened heart.

That’s why James says you’ve got to be not just hearers of the Word, but also doers (1:22, paraphrased). That’s why the writer to Hebrews says in chapter three, “Exhort one another daily . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (verse 13, NKJV).

Do you know what that says? It takes less than 24 hours for your heart to go from soft, good soil to hard soil. And how does it happen? If you hear something from God’s Word, but you don’t do anything about it.

That’s one of the greatest dangers, by the way, of growing up the way I have—exposed from birth to the Word of God. Now, that’s a huge blessing, and I thank the Lord for it, but what’s the danger? That I know so much more, sometimes, than I’m actually living. Or I feel when I hear it again, “I’ve heard that before. I know that.” Sometimes I find myself reading the Scripture with these glazed-over eyes: “I’ve been there; I’ve done that; I know that.”

It doesn’t penetrate my heart. That’s dangerous. That’s why we need to meditate on the Scripture and make sure that every time we’re being exposed to it, we’re responding in worship, prayer, praise, and obedience. Whatever the Scripture calls for, do it before you move on to the next passage.

Now, verse 13 tells us, “The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy.”

They love this Seeking Him series. They love the things they hear on Revive Our Hearts. They love the truth when they hear it. They grasp onto some new truth and say, “This is great.”

But they have no root. So what happens? “They believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.” You see, all these truths God has been using to send revival into your heart these past weeks—it’s not enough to just receive those truths enthusiastically.

You need to put down roots into your hearts for every one of those truths. Otherwise, when times of testing come, you’ll be the first to fall away from these truths that God was using to set you free.

And then verse 14 tells us, “As for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

Boy, if that verse doesn’t describe what it’s like to try and live the Christian life in the 21st century, I don’t know what does. We have so many opportunities to hear the Word of God, but what happens? The cares, riches, and pleasures of this life choke out the Word of God, and we don’t bear fruit.

We have so many technological advances, but sometimes I don’t know if those are a blessing or a curse. I’m thankful for them in a lot of ways. I use a lot of them. But it’s also some of those things, like email, that can be the greatest distraction to me from seeking the Lord with all my heart—things that keep me from listening to and responding to God.

“The cares, riches, pleasures of life”—He’s talking about busyness, about all the stuff we accumulate that we need, about all the distractions.

Listen, some of your families are too busy. Now, I’m not telling you how much is too much, but if you are too busy to seek the Lord and respond to Him, then you are too busy. You need to get rid of some of the clutter, some of the distractions, some of the things, whatever they are, that keep you from bearing fruit spiritually—things that are choking out the Word of God in your heart.

Well, verse 15 tells us that some of the seed fell on good soil. Jesus said, “They are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

In the earlier part of this passage, when Jesus was telling this parable, He said, “It yielded a hundredfold.” That’s a huge, abundant harvest, and that’s what God wants for your life. He wants your life to bear fruit. He’s glorified when your life brings forth much fruit. And how does that happen? When you’re not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer.

Guard your heart. Make sure that your heart is tender, sensitive, and responsive toward the Lord. You say, “It is now.” Make sure it is a week from now.

That’s why you need to be around other believers who help you gauge that and then persevere. These are people who hold the Word fast in an honest and good heart, and they bear fruit with patience, with perseverance.

Remember, the fruit God wants to produce in your life will not happen overnight. We’re in this for the long haul, until we see Christ—pursuing, pressing on, persevering, and patiently enduring until God produces that fruit in our lives.

Now, today I want to give a few other specific suggestions as you think about moving on in this matter of revival. The first is this: Remember that whatever it takes to get revival is what it takes to keep revival.

Let me say that again: Whatever it takes to get revival is what it takes to keep it. Think about the basic truths that God has been using to set you free over these past 12 weeks:

  • humility
  • honesty
  • repentance
  • holiness
  • obedience
  • clear conscience
  • forgiveness
  • walking in the Spirit

These are the same truths that will enable you to experience continuous, ongoing revival every day for the rest of your life.

If you’ll continue to live in those truths, continue to respond to those truths, you will continue to experience fresh revival from now until you see Jesus. That’s why it’s important for you to keep going back to those same foundational principles over and over and over again.

By the way, that’s why this series has been so good for me. I’ve had to prepare. I’ve taught these principles before; I’ve heard them many times. But as I’ve prepared for these fresh studies in Seeking Him, God has done a fresh work in my own heart—not so much by teaching me things I didn’t know before, but just by reminding me of the things I already knew and freshening up my responsiveness and obedience in these same areas.

You need to review these principles again and again and again and again, until they become engrafted into your heart, your mind, and your life.

Remember the “grace ambulance,” for example. If you didn’t hear that session, you’ll want to get the series so you can hear how God sends His grace racing to the scene of our need when we humble ourselves and cry out to Him.

That’s something you need every moment of every day for the rest of your life—learning to cry out to God and say, “Lord, I need You. I can’t do this without You.” And God will send His grace—His supernatural desire and His power to help you—to meet your need.

If you blow it, go back to repentance. If you start walking in the flesh, go back to walking in the Spirit. The same principles that God used to revive your heart are the same principles that will keep your heart tender and revived before God.

Now, here’s something else you need to realize, and that is that revival involves both a point and a process. Let me explain that. Both the point and the process are essential.

The point of revival is something that, perhaps, you have come to over the past several weeks. You could say, “God has revived my heart through this Seeking Him’series.” But the point of revival must be followed by an ongoing, lifetime process of revival.

It’s not enough to just have the point. That’s a starting place. You can’t get into the process if you don’t have a starting place, but the point of revival has to be followed by an ongoing process of revival.

That applies in lots of different areas. For example, points of repentance that we come to—points of confession, points of seeking God’s forgiveness—are important, but they have to be followed by an ongoing, lifelong process of repenting, clearing our conscience, and forgiving others.

I think this is where a lot of Christians miss it. They have some great emotional experience, or they go through some course or hear some great message, and their hearts are really touched. They respond and obey initially.

And they think, “There. Now my marriage should be great. Now my family should be great. Now my life should be in great shape.” They don’t realize that they need an ongoing, continuing process of renewing their minds and rebuilding their lives around the Word of God.

Now, here’s the danger. If you forget about the process—you just experience a point of revival, a point of repentance, or a point of obedience—but you don’t continue in the process, here’s what will happen.

Having once tasted of and experienced the reviving hand of God in your life, if you don’t continue in the process, there is a danger that you will go back not only to the way you were before, but to a place that is worse than the way you were before.

Let me illustrate that in the Scripture, in Luke chapter 11. You remember this passage, where Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order” (verses 24-25).

The evil spirit was cast out, and now the house is clean, but it’s empty. Nothing has been put in its place, so the evil spirit “goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first” (verse 26).

You see, if you don’t put into your life the graces of the Spirit-filled life in place of the things you’ve removed from your life, then it’s possible those things you’ve removed will come back even worse than they were before.

It’s not enough to just put off bitterness. You need to put on forgiveness. It’s not enough to put off the sin. You need to put on the righteousness. It’s not enough to put off the flesh. You need to put on the Spirit of Christ.

Then remember this: Coals stay hot if they stay close together, but they grow cold if they’re isolated. You know those last coals left in your fire? If you want to keep them burning, you push them together. If you let one of those hot coals get off by itself, pretty soon the fire will go out. That’s the way it is in the body of Christ when it comes to revival. That’s why you need to stay close to other people who are serious about seeking God.

You need to have among your friends those who are pursuing God with all their hearts. Why? Because you need the encouragement, you need the accountability, you need the prayer, and you need people in your face saying, “Why are you whining? Are you bitter? How’s your time with God been? Are you walking in the Spirit? How can I pray for you? What’s God doing in your heart?” We need to be asking each other those questions, keeping our hearts close to each other as we seek to stay close to the Lord.

And then finally, not only do you need to stay close to others who have a heart for revival and a hot heart for God, but you also need to get involved in the lives of people who aren’t there yet.

I want to challenge you to ask God to make you an instrument of revival in the lives of others in the days ahead. If you’ve been following the Seeking Him series with us, you’ve been experiencing something of the fresh work of God’s reviving grace in your life.

God wants to use you now as an instrument of revival in others’ lives. I can’t tell you how often we get letters or emails from listeners saying, “I’m the only person in my family who is seeking after God.” Or people sometimes feel that they’re one of a very small remnant in their local church who are seeking hard after God.

Let me caution you against becoming critical toward those who are not yet seeking God the way that you are. As soon as you become critical of them, you’ve ceased to walk in humility, and now you’re the person who needs revival. Ask God to give you a compassionate heart, a burdened heart, for those in your family, those in your church, and those in your community who are not pursuing the Lord.

Get on your knees. Intercede. Cry out to God on behalf of those that you love who are not seeking the Lord. And as you do, find one or two like-hearted believers, and begin to pray for revival.

Pray for revival in your families, in your marriages, and among your children. Pray for revival in your church. Do it in a way that is not critical of your church or of your pastor. Don’t have those prayer times that say, “Lord, if our pastor would just preach more anointed messages, our church could have revival.”

No, pray in a spirit of humility. Lift up the hands of your pastor. Pray that he’ll be a man of God. Pray that he’ll be filled with the Spirit of God. Pray that God will send revival to your church.

Pray that God will send revival to your home, to your community, and to our world. Let your life be what creates a hunger and thirst for God in the hearts of people around you. Share with people out of your life message: “Here’s what God has been doing in my life.”

Be honest and open in sharing with each other. I don’t know what your story is. Whatever it is, share it with others. Share it not only when you’ve succeeded, but when you’ve blown it. Share how you’ve repented and how God has given you His restoring grace. It’s the power of a life message that creates hunger and thirst.

And let me encourage you: If you haven’t been through the Seeking Him book, now that you’ve heard the series on Revive Our Hearts, I want to encourage you to get hold of the book and to go through this material again. It’s the same themes, but different content. Get a small group with you to go through that study and seek the Lord again in these same principles. You can be an instrument of revival.

Maybe you’ve already been through the book. Get a new group to go through it with you again. You say, “I’ve already done it.” Do it again. You need the reminder, and this way you can be an instrument of revival in the lives of others.

Leslie: Here’s how to go through the book Nancy was just talking about. Call 1-800-569-5959 and ask for Seeking Him. You can also order online at ReviveOurHearts.com. If you’re putting together a group, you might want to get a copy of the material on DVD so you can watch it together.

A little earlier, I read you a letter from a listener who was a leader in her church. She reported going through the motions in her relationship with Christ until hearing our radio series Seeking Him. Stories like this are so exciting to those who donate to make Revive Our Hearts. They can see how their gifts are being used to connect with women who need to hear biblical truth.

If you’ve never given to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, this is the perfect time. Some friends are challenging you to give by offering to match every donation that comes in by the end of the year, up to $450,000. That means your gift of $100 will become $200 when you contact us by December 31.

Help us meet this challenge, and make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com. Or call 1-800-569-5959.

One of the high points during this series has been the times of prayer for revival. A lot of listeners have told us how much they appreciate hearing Christian leaders connect to pray that God will visit His people in revival. Tomorrow, we’ll hear that kind of powerful prayer. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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