“The hardening of our hearts is the spring of all our other sins.” (Matthew Henry)
What does it mean to “harden your heart?”
Medically, when a physical heart becomes “hard,” it is due to a condition known as scleroderma, referring to a connective tissue disease that affects vital organs, including the heart, eventually resulting in death.
Spiritually, when we harden our hearts to God’s instruction, it affects our entire outlook, our attitude, and ultimately our future. My heart grows hard when I’m resistant to the Word, the will, and the ways of God. When I turn away from His instruction and go my own way.
The cycle can happen something like this:
You’re walking through life, enjoying the presence of God, when suddenly He chooses to lead you up a new path—perhaps a steeper trail than you’re used to climbing. You may react in fear (I’ve never gone this way before). Or maybe you’re just not too fond of doing hard things (Couldn’t I take a breather for a while?). Maybe you’ve seen another path that looks more comfortable, so you investigate that route as an alternative.
The first step in the cycle of hardening your heart is to resist the path God has chosen for you.
The next step in the cycle involves putting your fingers in your ears (well maybe not literally). God uses truth from His Word, or perhaps life circumstances or counsel from godly friends, to get your attention. But you’ve determined to go your own way and you don’t want the conviction of God’s voice to interfere with your plans.
Tragically, you proceed on your own way and find a measure of comfort in justifying your actions.
By this time, your heart is becoming even harder, resistant to any conviction of God, unwilling to move, bend, or surrender to the hand of God. This is a dangerous place for a believer. God will often graciously move in with some type of opposition in order to alert you to your pride and rebellion (James 4:6; Psalm 119:47). It is critical to respond to Him in repentance.
The failure to repent is the open door to spiritual bondage.
Do you recognize any portion of this cycle occurring in your life now?