This past summer New England was beautiful. It was warm, sometimes very hot, and sunny for most of the season. Everywhere you looked the yards and gardens were bursting with color, beautiful vegetables and fruits to eat and lovely bouquets to place on tables. As I write on the first of October the weather is still gorgeous, warm and not our typical New England weather. I walked this morning without a sweater or jacket as the temperature neared the mid 70s.
While out and about I noticed many gates. The gates are of various size and shape placed around gardens and yards, some are decorative while many are used to keep out animals. A gate is an opening to a world beyond. Gates can be inviting or they can be extremely protective, keeping out unwanted or unfamiliar objects. As I looked at gates I thought of the hearts of God’s children. Do we put up “gates” around our heart?
What kind of gates do we put around our heart? I have come up with a few that I will be reviewing in the next few days. The first gate I thought about was a closed gate. When we see a closed gate the first thought that comes to mind is “stay out”. Do we sometimes say that to Jesus? Is our heart closed to his leading or his love?
Sometimes we are so engrossed in what we are doing or in what we believe that we do not want to make any changes. Even if the changes are what the Lord is directing through His Word. The gate around our heart is closed and we do not want to open it.
I thought of a couple of Bible characters who had closed hearts to the Lord’s leading. The first one was Jonah, a prophet of God. God told him to go and preach to a group of people that Jonah did not like. Did Jonah obey? No he had a better idea; he took a ship and went in the opposite direction. A “closed gate” around our heart will often get us in a lot of trouble. In the end Jonah did obey God but it was only after a very trying time in the belly of a giant whale (Jonah 1-4).
King Saul also had a “closed gate” heart. He was always one step before the Lord, or so he thought. He sacrificed animals, instead of waiting for God. His hatred for David was so blinding that he could not see anything but revenge. King Saul disobeyed God in everything hence keeping his heart’s gate closed. Closed to God’s leading, closed to God’s love, closed to anything to do with God. What a sad state of affairs, from the king of Israel to the king who lost his throne to his neighbor (I Samuel 15:28) all because of a closed heart.
Is there something in your life that is keeping a closed gate around your heart? There are many things that will keep our hearts closed to the leading of the Lord; unforgiveness, bitterness, disobedience are just a few of many. Start today with a clean slate before you and God. Ask Him to show you what to do so your gate does not stay closed.Have a blessed day,