Tender Hearts, Calloused Knees and Righteous Lives

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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

Christianity, to be truly embraced, must be accepted for what it really is. Christianity is more than religion- it is a way of life that seeks to please God. Three essential elements can be noted to experience fulfillment in the Christian life.

The first element is a tender heart. A tender heart toward God makes us teachable and pliable to His will. A tender heart toward others compels us to try our best to win them to the Lord.

The second element is calloused knees. This doesn’t mean literal callouses; it means the spiritual discipline to pray much. Through prayer we worship God, intercede for others and draw closer to God ourselves.

The third element is righteous lives. As sinners we lived to please ourselves. Now we live to please God and to be examples to others around us.

Let us take a closer look at tender hearts, calloused knees and righteous lives. Remember, if Christianity is to be truly embraced, we must consider these elements to be of utmost importance.

At conversion, the Lord takes the heart hardened by sin and creates a heart that is tender and can honestly feel for others. Ezekiel 36:25-26 says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Notice, sin is absolutely cleansed. However, salvation also includes changing the heart so that it is pliable before God. Simply put, our hearts break because of the things that break the heart of God.

Mark 6:34 says, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” It takes a tender heart to be moved by compassion. That is the very nature of our Savior. Jesus wants us to have hearts that really care- just like Him.

Calloused knees refer to prayer that is an integral part of our walk with God. Prayer is our time of worship and drawing near to God. We pray knowing that prayer makes a difference. James 5:16 tells us: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Prayer really does change things.

Then there is the final element- righteous lives. According to Hebrews 12:14 holiness is God’s standard for His people: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Living right before others glorifies God. People need to see what Christianity really is- God expects us to be the examples for them.

The Christian life is a wonderful way of living. It certainly challenges us when we endeavor to maintain tender hearts, calloused knees and righteous lives.


Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.

Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children  — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter  — Breanna. 

Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.

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