The Hardened Soul

By Dave Henning / February 9, 2015

“Listen!  A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path and the birds came and devoured it.”- Mark 4:3-4

Today John Ortberg (Soul Keeping) begins his discussion of three types of souls.

1.  The Hardened Soul.  Not only is that path the place where farmers walk, but it also is the place where sheep travel on their way to food and water.  Because the path is hard and dry, the seeds don’t have a chance.  Pastor Ortberg states that often these seeds are people who have experienced hurt or disappointment.  Their response is to from a protective shell, becoming cynical or bitter or suspicious in the process.

Our soul-attention is diverted when the world encourages us to think of ourselves more as a victim than as a human.  We are so entangled in our own hurt hat we don’t notice the hurt we inflict on others.  The author states:

“In a world where victimhood has become status, souls go unexamined for hardness.”

Yet, Pastor Ortberg adds, sometimes the smallest acts of sacrifice or self-denial can break up that hardened soil, as the following article titled “How to Stay Christian in College” notes:

“You’ll be surprised how these tiny sacrifices work an interior magic, shifting your focus ever so slightly away from yourself.  Once you’re a little bit to the side, God can come to the center.”

As Pastor Ortberg concludes, if one tiny seed can find a little room to breathe, it can break up a sidewalk.  That seed is stronger than we can imagine.

Today’s question: What small sacrifices have you found effective in shifting your focus away from yourself?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The Shallow Soul”

About the author

Dave Henning

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