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A Heart to Know

Here's an important way to help the people we serve.

"Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day." Deuteronomy 29.4

A common concern of many pastors is that the people they serve don't seem all that excited about learning. This is especially troublesome, where it is true, because learning is the essence of discipleship, and all believers are expected to learn so well that they will be able to teach one another (cf. Heb. 5.12-14; Col. 3.16).

Learning begins in the heart, with desire or, as Jeremiah might say, hunger for God and His truth (Jer. 15.16). People who won't make the time for daily Bible reading and meditation, who can't be bothered to read a book, or whose only reading is on social media do not have a heart for true knowledge, the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. Which is to say, they don't have a heart for learning more about our great salvation (Jn. 17.3). They have settled into a faith of mere comfort and convenience.

We need to confront them about this complacency. But we need to do more than chide.

We are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3.18). Our calling as shepherds is to make the prospect of such growth so appealing and accessible that God's people will apply themselves, eyes and ears, to learning more about the Lord, that they may see Him in His glory and be transformed into His likeness (2 Cor. 3.12-18). We must pray for the people of God, that He would give them a heart to know Him, an unquenchable desire to drink from the rivers of delight which flow through His Word to the throne of Jesus. We must encourage them to develop the disciplines of reading and meditating in God's Word, participating with others in the study of Scripture, and reading good books that enlarge our vision of the life of faith.

What a joy it is to see people who are eager to learn and excited about growing in the Lord. God has set us as shepherds over His flock to help them gain a heart for learning - a heart for true discipleship. Let us whet the appetites of His people, not for the junk food of social media and dulling diversions of our day, but for the pure meat of God's Word and the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. And let us pray that God will excite them to love Him with all their soul and strength.

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