How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  Developing a Passionate Heart

Overcoming a Cold, Hard Heart


What was wrong with the Grinch? It wasn’t that his shoes were too tight or that his head wasn’t screwed on right. It was that his heart was two sizes too small. No room left for anyone else. So he lived in a cave by himself with his dog, Max. But there was one season each year that intruded on the Grinch’s small little world. It was Christmas with all of the sounds of singing, laughing and giving of presents. One Christmas he decided to put an end to this season of joy. But in the end it was the message of Christmas that enlarged his heart.

The true story of Christmas is about God’s decision to intrude into our self-absorbed small lives and provide a way for our hearts to be enlarged: enlarged to make room for the people around us, enlarged to live for a purpose bigger than ourselves, enlarged to worship and serve the God who created each of us, and enlarged to be able to handle the surprises of life without anger or bitterness or fear. This Christmas season we are looking at how God enlarges our hearts.

Ezekiel 36:25-26 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

From these verses, answer the following questions:

1. What problems does God see in our human hearts? (Look for at least three).

2. How can a person become clean in God’s sight? What can he do?

3. How does cleansing take place? Is this human work or God’s work? (Idolatry is a greater commitment to something other than God).

4. What does it take for us to experience a heart change?

5. What problem does our heart possess? What do you think Ezekiel means by a “heart of stone?”

6. A heart of stone is a heart that doesn’t really care about what is important. It doesn’t really care about God or the things important to God. Do you detect hardness in your heart? List a few items that come to mind…

7. Ask God to give you a heart of flesh.


Ezekiel 36:25-26 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Yesterday we looked at a heart of stone. When it comes to the things of God people with a heart of stone have no love for what God has said in the Bible. How can you tell? They rarely read it. There is little passion for His church. How do you know? Almost anything can intrude. We all tend to develop hearts of stone toward God. We have little interest in what He has to say or what he’s up to until it messes with our life and then like a stone we expect Him to adjust to us.

It’s not that we are without all feelings. Scratch our car, mess up our new TV, or take our money and all kinds of passion comes rushing to the surface. We are alive. We are made of flesh and therefore have feelings but because of our small heart we have become dead to the things that God says really matters. Like a spiritual heart attack, our heart muscle is killed.

1. The opposite of the heart of stone is a heart of flesh. What do you think a heart of flesh would look like?

2. Who do you know who has a heart of flesh? What are they like?

3. Once God gives you a heart of flesh at your conversion to Christ, is there something you can do to maintain your heart of flesh?

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

a. What are some things you need to guard your heart from?

b. How can you guard your heart?

4. We wrongly think that passion is random. It’s like lightning. You never know when and where it will hit. We wrongly think passion is something you follow. If you feel it then go for it. But passion is a follower.

Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

a. GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. What is the relation between our words and our hearts?

b. You have a significant influence on the shaping of your heart! What are some ways you can get “good things” “stored up in your heart?”


According to Luke 6:45 you can control what you let into your heart. That means that you can influence the things that come out of your heart; things like the passions of your heart. Without God’s Holy Spirit inside of your heart you will never develop a passion for the things of God. It would be like trying to resurrect a stone. But once He comes in you need to cooperate. How? By knowing what passion follows.

Passion follows 3 G’s. Go, Give, Greet. (the next 3 days of devotionals).

1. Where are you Going? (What you pursue)

Everyone has a passionate Heart. Even the Grinch. When did he come alive? He came alive when he came up with the plan of stealing Christmas from the citizens of Whoville. He laughed with joy when the bikes he sabotaged fell apart. He clapped with glee when he handed the children the saw he had just used to sabotage the bikes. This is the way every heart works, even bad ones. Once we come up with a plan and start working toward it, passion follows.

Colossians 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

1. On what are we to “set our hearts”?

2. Below, are some examples of “things above,” items to which we can set our hearts. Put a STAR by the ones you already set your heart. Put a MINUS sign next to the ones you should give attention to…

___ Witnessing
___ Reading the bible
___ Praying
___ Investing your time in people (ministry)
___ Giving generously
___ Serving
___ Honesty
___ Integrity
___ Faithfulness
___ Encouraging those around you
___ Honoring God, no matter what
___ Walking by faith; stepping out in faith.
___ A certain hope: God will reward me as I follow Him in this world.

3. What observations do you make from your “stars” and “minus signs”?

4. Pick one item you’d like to see grow. How can you set your mind on that item? Is there someone at church to talk to? Do you need help growing in an area? Do you need to adjust your time use?


Yesterday we looked at (1) Where are you Going?

Today, (2) What are you Giving?

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1. What is the relationship between giving and the state of our heart?

2. Most of us wait until our heart is “sincere” before we give. Is that the pattern Jesus dictates?

3. Passion follows giving. When you invest yourself, your time, or your money, passion has a chance to grow. Passion is like the caboose on a train. It has no power by itself. It simply follows the engine.

a. Do you consider yourself a “giver?”

b. Why did you answer the last question the way you did?

4. The Grinch was a taker. He saw “life” as happening for him when he got something. How is your approach to “life” the same as the Grinch’s?

* How is your approach to “life” different than the Grinch’s?

5. The same principle works in a relationship with God. If there is little or no passion for the things of God in your life take a look at your God investments. Are you giving? Money? Time? Are you giving enough of either that it impacts you?

6. Let me get personal with you. All during the year, my wife and I tithe every Sunday. In addition, I set aside some money into our savings account and let it accumulate all year. Part of that money in “savings” is set aside as a year-end offering to our church.

a. What impact do you think this practice has on my heart?

b. Do you give an amount to God that impacts you? Do you give an amount that Jesus would call an investment from your heart to His?



1. Where are you Going?

2. What are you Giving?

3. Who are you Greeting?

Passion is contagious. My senior year at Baylor, I switched from being a premed major to a history major. One of my professors saw my interest in history and asked me if I wanted to teach one of his classes! I was stoked. He wanted me to study the French Revolution and answer the question, “Was the French Revolution better or worse for France?” I did more research on that topic than any topic in my four years! Why? Mostly, because of the relationship with a prof who saw my love for history and believed that I had something to contribute.
Passion follows relationships. Who you connect your life to will shape what you’re passionate about.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

1. About what danger does Hebrews warn us?

2. What does “sin’s deceitfulness” mean?

3. What effect does sin have on our heart?

4. What is the writer’s prescription to keep sin from hardening our heart?

5. How often is encouragement to take place?

6. When you read, “but encourage one another daily…” who is doing the encouraging? Someone else or you?

7. We may read that verse and naturally think that it is the encouragement of others that keeps my heart soft. Is that what the writer means?

8. How can MY encouragement of OTHERS soften MY heart? (I may not receive encouragement all that much, but I can give encouragement daily!).

9. It is all too easy to isolate ourselves from people. You have got to fight this tendency! Take the initiative to be a part of people’s lives!!!

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