Preparing Our Hearts

December 1, 2020

Preparing Our Hearts, John 5:39-47

Dr. Larry S. Lightner

Read John 5:39-47

While I was a seminary student, it was not unusual for students to gather in the dining room and discuss the minutiae of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words. It seems like every student had an opinion. We thought we were so smart. However, we regularly missed the message God was speaking. We were so caught up in the Scriptures, so caught up in the study, we missed preparing our hearts for what God wanted us to hear and learn—and apply God’s Word to our lives.

That is why God wants us to come to the Scriptures to hear Him speak to us—it is a unique book, there is none other like it. What happens when our hearts are prepared to hear? Profound changes come into our lives; the outcomes are a blessing to us and give glory to the One who provides us with His word.

When we take God’s Word to heart, we learn about Him out from the Scripture. We call this exegetical study. “Ex” means “out from.” We get God’s truth out from His Word, the Bible. We are in trouble when we attempt the more common approach. The more common method of reading the Bible is eisegesis. It is the kind of reading that involves inserting our opinions “into” (eise) the Scriptures. When we understand what the Bible says based upon our own opinions, we miss the sure hope that God’s Word contains.

The hope that God gives is sure hope; it is not a wish. It is our dependable God chasing after us with His grace and mercy, so that we become aware of the hope that is vested only in Him. Why would anyone not want to know that hope? We can miss the message of God because of the opinions we have.

Because you think,” (John 5:39), is a warning to be careful on how you read the Scriptures. Almighty God, who is our Creator, wants us to not only have sure hope, He wants us to have a life relationship with Him. That is a good reason to approach the 2020 Advent Season with a prepared heart. A heart ready to hear what He has to say.

Life Application

God loves us so much, He sent His only Son, to come to this earth, that Jesus would live and die, then live again so that we would have opportunity to live eternally with Him. Advent is the season when we are reminded that our Loving God seeks our hearts to come to Him. How are we doing with the “season?

Right after you pray, there may be one of your favorite songs that comes to mind to help you remember what God has done for you. How does singing help you express your hope in God?

God created us to glorify Him, to see others’ value as He values them. How we relate to others is indicative of living out the expectations of our great God. Others will see God more clearly, as we grow and love Him. For most of the world, they only know of God by watching how we live out our lives, and observing our relationships with others. How are we doing?

God’s plan to provide Jesus Christ is a clear demonstration that He, God, fulfills every promise He makes to us.


  1. Ask God to guard your mind and heart for listening to His Word and applying His Word exegetically.
  2. Ask God to keep a song in your heart that brings your heart close to Him in this season of Advent.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

December 1, 2020

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