If my husband and I were to go on the Newlywed or Not-So-Newlywed Game, I know several of his go-to answers. If he were asked “What is one thing that annoys you most about your wife?” He would say that I do not screw the caps of things back on tightly. It’s true. I don’t. I guess I am ready to move on to the next thing, or I get distracted by something shiny…you get the picture. Many a time he has showered the kitchen with capsules or dropped a jar on the floor due to my lack of follow-through. He has shown immeasurable grace with me in this area and I vow to work on this habit all the time. I am trying to get better at putting caps on things. Even if he doesn’t see when I do put the lids on tight, I am doing it because I love him and doing things right by him are important to me.
On a different note, I loved Play-Doh as a kid. What a great invention. Nothing was worse than being excited to play with it, then discovering that someone had left the lid off and it was hard as a rock. Craft and play time came to a screeching halt. It didn’t matter who left the lid off (it was probably me); the end result was something that was not usable, but totally preventable.
I have experienced this spiritually when it comes to my heart. When I don’t seek a relationship with God on a regular basis, or stay grounded in scripture, I am very apt to give in to my own desires, such as making the opinions of others more important than God’s, or to fall prey to laziness or the intoxicating effects of social media, which can quickly harden or soften my heart, depending on the post. When I leave the lid off my spiritual life and don’t realize it, my heart starts to slowly harden and I start acting in a manner that isn’t consistent with a life led by the Lord.
God made the people of Judah this promise in Ezekiel:
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 11:19-21)
I think he was saying to the Israelites: “I am giving you a new, soft heart and if you keep it in the container with the lid on—in other words, follow my decrees and keep my laws—your hearts won’t harden and you will stay my people.” If they “left the lid off” or didn’t follow his decrees and went the way of their idols, there was no way back. We know from many passages in the Old Testament that God is a God of mercy and gave the Israelites many chances to do the right thing.
Things changed dramatically for our benefit when Jesus died on the cross. When God sacrificed His Son, he tightened the lid on each of our hearts and souls. We humans will always make a mistake and “leave the lid off” because we are sinners. But if we ask for forgiveness, He will put the lid back on EVERY SINGLE TIME to preserve us for eternity.
It is always my goal when I sin to try to correct that behavior and do right the next time because of the sacrifice that was made for me. No matter how hard your heart has gotten, no matter how great the sin, if you turn to Him he will give you a new heart.
Ask Him this:
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
You can prevent your heart and soul from getting hardened if you they are continually sealed up tight with the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Tell me in the comments below what habit you have that you would like to change?