“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
“And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)
The prophecy and the fulfillment of the mission of John the Baptist speak of an effect on hearts—“he shall turn the heart of the fathers to…and the heart of the children to…”; “shall he turn to the Lord….to turn the hearts of the fathers to…and the disobedient to….” All of this speaks of hearts being turned to a different direction than they have naturally been used to going. The most remarkable, perhaps, is the turning of the hearts of the disobedient. None of this would be possible except that the power of God was working through him to do this. All this was to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”” A softened heart, a response to the wooing of the Holy Spirit toward the right, toward God, is always the necessary preparation before someone can receive the Lord in their hearts and have a real heart change. This soft heart toward the Lord and His ways is essential to any movement toward the Lord, whether it is getting saved, sanctified, or getting any real help from Him in our battles.
I’ll tell a story on myself to illustrate the point. Just recently, a Monday morning started out disjointed and flustering for me. I found that I felt unable to manage my own household well, that feelings of frustration and discouragement were coming upon me, and I went to the Lord in prayer. Now I had in mind certain places that it seemed to me that others in the household were “missing the point” of their roles, and I was minded to examine the scriptures about this, but as I sought the Lord, I found that He wanted me to refresh myself from the scriptures on my role as husband, father, parent first. I found my heart being softened, and at this point I was minded to take off somewhere to pray alone for a long time, but after a little while, the Lord made it clear to me that it was time to call the family together (He had already performed a small miracle to make it possible to gather the family together that morning) and talk about the vision the Lord had for our functioning as a pastor’s household. We prayed first, and I found the Lord had given me a soft enough heart to both speak and listen, and it proved an encouraging and profitable time together.
My point is this: being a child of God with access to God is only the potential for victory. When the battle comes, we must “turn our hearts” toward Him (whatever it takes to do that) to apply for the help, and to present ourselves for Him to work in and through.
The different articles here are on a variety of topics and one may speak to your burdens or needs or another might, but the help will actually come only as we turn our hearts toward the Lord, and present ourselves for Him to work in and through us. It may involve suffering, it may involve humbling ourselves, it may involve letting go of something, or some thing else yet, but it will involve spiritual “action” on our part.
Just another pilgrim on the highway of holiness,