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Soften Our Hearts

“Elisebeth Claire!” my mother called loudly. Uh oh. When mom used my full name with that tone, I knew the situation was not good. Much to my chagrin, she had discovered my recent cursive handwriting practice—in blue ballpoint ink on the maroon interior of the minivan. “I didn’t do it,” I lied, desperately not wanting to be in the wrong.

I was about the same age as Josiah was when he became king: eight. In today’s First Reading he was only eighteen. (2 Kings 22:1 & 3) While reading his story, one thing is clear: he had a developed conscience. When Josiah hears the book of the law and realizes that neither he nor his kingdom is observing the rules of God, it shakes him to his core. He gathers everyone, “small and great,” to listen to the law. Upon hearing it, they all make a covenant with the Lord, vowing to whole-heartedly change their lifestyle and abide in His ways.

It makes me look at my own response to God’s law: When I hear it, does it lead me to transformation? Am I quick to change my ways, even when—especially when—God is asking me to change the way I live, the way I think, the way I love? The life God calls us to is sometimes difficult, and often challenging. How much easier is it to try to rationalize the law according to our own human desires? How much simpler is it to side with the false prophets of our times? Life with God is counter-cultural, Sisters. A life lived in obedience to His law takes humility and courage.

Today’s Psalm, number 119, is a wonderfully encouraging prayer as we try to unify our hearts with our loving Father and His law. When we pray this psalm from the heart, the Lord is sure to hear and answer us. Let us raise our voices with the psalmist, asking the Lord to teach us, to give us clear discernment. Let us ask Him to purify our desires: “Turn my eyes from seeing what is vain,” or as another translation reads, “Avert my eyes from what is worthless”—yes, Lord! Purify our desires. For when we follow Your ways we will find true freedom. We will have lasting peace. We will have life.

Find some time this week to pray through the entirety of Psalm 119. Ask the Lord where He might be calling you to greater faithfulness to His law. Soften our hearts and make us brave enough to hear Your voice, Holy Spirit!

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, vocal artist and teacher. She currently resides in New York City, though she will always be a Midwestern gal at heart. Elise has a heart for ministry, dark chocolate (but not too dark) and coffee with a generous amount of cream + sugar. Find out more about her here.

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