Author: Sallie Ross (wife of our Bishop Ken Ross) wrote a full lent devotional a few years ago.  We’ll be using a few selections from it during our church’s observation of lent.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Psalm 95:7b- 8a

There are often many conversations that go on in my head. I am unquestionably an expert at justifying what I am not doing but should be doing. And then I will hear a definitive voice inside saying: “Methinks you protest too much!”

In the past year, however, I have committed myself to meeting weekly with a fellow pilgrim on the journey as a means of accountability. I have certainly learned that when one tells God to “have at me!”, one had better be ready to be “had at!”

What I have also learned is that when we make the decision to respond to the Lord as He calls us forth, there is something different that happens inside. It is almost as though we are unable to harden our hearts. When we lean into the Lord, we are close to Him. Who He is becomes amplified in life-giving ways. And so when we hear the quiet prompting (His preferred way of speaking with us, I believe), it is as though we have to respond–as though we are gratefully trapped in obedience. It is a trapping of a yielded heart, and actually it feels wonderful. (The things of God often make no sense to this world).

Often within me it triggers such a sense of repentance that I have been having my own way for so long. And then, still leaning it, I watch as He shows me how to do what needs to be done. And I try it–sometimes successfully, sometimes stumbling–and there is a deeper breath within me and a stirring of hope, that perhaps I really can live a life pleasing to the Lord.

So it’s more than just hear and obey. That in itself could easily become legalism. It is leaning into the Father, getting close enough to find that his heart is so much more appealing than any of our desires, and following his heart with your obedience.

–Father, I need you to reach in and replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. I need to lean in close enough to be drawn to your whisper, to trust your goodness, and to be captivated by your love. That I might repent and turn full of heart to You, Lord, You who are my life.