“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
Bible speaks a lot about the heart. Luke 6:45 – It is a storehouse of what comes out. Revelation 3:20 – It is a place where the Holy Spirit works. Ezekiel 36:26 – “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.” In natural terms, When the arteries get blocked, pumping of blood cannot be done smoothly. Similarly, there will be certain times in a believer’s life, where a believer stops perceiving spiritual things. No matter how many sermons they hear in church or read the Word and pray, it will not touch the heart. This condition is called Hardening of Heart. A condition of being cold, stubborn and insensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at a few of the blocking factors.
Dominated by natural thinking/facts or unbelief:
In Matthew 14:13-21, here, the disciples were with Jesus and had witnessed him feeding multitudes. Yet, when they faced the same situation again (in Matthew 15:29-39), they started panicking pondering the natural facts. Why? Even though they were part of the previous miracle, their hearts are filled with the natural facts which desensitized them from considering or recollecting the miracles of Jesus. You are dominated by what you meditate. The kind of words we listen to, TV shows we watch, places we visit will have an impact on our spiritual life. When you meditate the Word of God, you become sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit which builds up faith. The mouth speaks what the heart is filled with. What is that you are thinking about most of the time?
Being satisfied with how things are and not trying to make them better. People who become complacent are — too easily satisfied with smaller achievements, no longer teachable spirit, giving reasons and excuses for not trying. God may use any person to speak to us. Not able to take corrections or a feeling that “I already know this” or “I know better” are some characteristics that make a person’s heart hardened slowly.
Past failures, hurts, heart breaks, disappointments:
There are times when we put our hopes on something, praying and expecting for a miracle or breakthrough, but when the exact opposite happens we get disappointed. Hopes get shattered. It will be very hard to expect or to have hope in that area again. The devil tries to attack a person’s mind in these weak moments and builds strongholds which hinders him from progressing forward. If not dealt with these inner wounds (with the Word of God), there are chances of developing fear and unbelief in trusting God or people. A wounded soldier couldn’t be effective in a war.
We are called to be hardened to sin but not to God. Hardness is a sign of rebellion. I want to encourage you to please take time and ask the Lord to show you if there is any area in your life where you are desensitized to the voice of God. God has great plans for each and every one of us. But we cannot be used by God, to the full potential, when our hearts are not in alignment with Him. We cannot enjoy the fullness of what God offers to us, the result is living a mediocre christian life. God wants our heart to be healthy and sensitive to Him, to receive everything He has for us. Let go of what is holding you back, whether it be complacency, unbelief, hurts, disappointments or failures. God is going to do a new thing in your life. Start anticipating with new hope.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
— Shabna Nikhil