God wants us to have a tender heart. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to make our hearts tender. Conviction is a major evidence of the Holy Spirit’s working in the believer’s life. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess 1:4–5). There should be a real love for God that undergirds all of our Bible knowledge. But there is the possibility of grieving and even quenching the Spirit’s ministry in our lives. That’s what happened to the believers in the northern kingdom in Israel. They stopped listening to God and lost their love and conviction.
God’s people in Israel lacked the love and conviction of the Holy Spirit. “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (6:6). God promises: “I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Eze 36:26, NLT). What are the signs that you are letting the Holy Spirit make your heart tender to God?
1. Your heart is cut by God’s Word. “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37).
2. Your heart will hate sin. “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Mic 3:8). This includes my own sins. “And when he [the Comforter] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn 16:8).
3. Your heart will love building up other Christians. “You also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:22).
4. You will be peacemaker in the Body of Christ. “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
5. Your heart will be touched to worship God. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24). “We are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God” (Phil 3:3).
6. You will hunger for the Spirit to teach you the Word of God. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things” (Jn 14:26).
7. Your heart will desire the salvation of lost souls. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).