The Hardened Heart 03

We have been discussing the Biblical references to a “hardened heart.” These are not just talking about people who have turned their back on God and have no desire to follow Him. A person who loves Him is capable of hardening their heart.

I have talked previously about the three parts of our being. We are living spirits who have a soul and live in our bodies. The soul consists of our mind, will, intellect, and emotions. It is the gateway between the physical and spiritual parts of us.

The heart is our core. It consists of the spirit and soul. The spirit is recreated (2 Corinthians 5:17) when we ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives and receive His gift of salvation. It is our soul that becomes hardened by wrong thinking and beliefs.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
(Romans 8:5)

The soul becomes hardened due to allowing ourselves to be influenced more by the natural realm than by the spiritual. Paul referred to this as being “after the flesh.” It happens when we allow ourselves to focus more on things like sporting events, news headlines, or our favorite sitcoms.

A hardened soul is insensitive, cold, unfeeling, or unyielding to the Spirit of God. We will not necessarily experience this condition in every area. It is possible to be in this state regarding the subject of healing while remaining in a sensitive state towards the issues of grace or love. The determining factor in our soul’s state is how we allow ourselves to place our focus.

I have a family member who loves the Lord but is “hardened” towards the subject of healing. I am amazed by this individual’s attitude because they were miraculously healed of cancer when they were younger but question God’s will today. Over the years, friends they’ve prayed for died of some sickness or disease, so my relative questions God’s will in this area.

We live in a fallen world that is full of distractions. There is not a single person alive who does not have at least one area of their soul that is hardened to one place or another of the spiritual realm. The Christian walk is a journey. We will never come to a place where there is no need to keep pursuing the Word and allowing it to wash over those hardened areas of our souls.

Many times the source of our hardness is we’ve allowed ourselves to become “accustomed” to something the devil has done in our lives. For example, a person with a disease or disability may become accustomed to their condition and stop pursuing their healing. They end up accepting life without any vision of ever being free.

The Holy Spirit is faithful. He will show us the areas that need softening in our souls. Each of us has areas where we’ve become cold or insensitive. This does not mean we are bad people. Distractions abound that draw our attention away from the Word of God and keep us from spending quality time fellowshipping with Him.

It seems as if few Christians have any level of revelation regarding the Holy Spirit or His desire to spend time with them. Religion hardens the heart with its traditions, creating blockages in the soul that hinder from developing any level of sensitivity to Him or His presence. These blockers are areas that are hardened. I believe that even well-meaning people with a heart to seek God have areas of their souls that are insensitive and hardened. The Bible refers to this condition as being hard-hearted.

51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
(Mark 6:51 – 52)

Jesus had appeared to His disciples walking on water amid a storm that made them think their boat was drowning. Matthew and John tell us that Peter joined Jesus but then began to sink when he allowed his attention to be drawn away from the Lord by waves beating around him.

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
(John 16:14)

Jesus rebuked His disciples for their hardness of heart. Interestingly, he wasn’t doing this because they had been caught in a lie, committing adultery, or even looking at pornography! The disciple’s hearts had been hardened not because of sin but because they had allowed themselves to be distracted by the storm raging around them. They had become fixated on the natural world, allowing their souls to become hardened to the spiritual.

My goal in the discussion is to show that we all have areas where our souls have become hardened. We can easily read accounts of people like the disciples who allowed their hearts to become hardened and point fingers. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to admit we can fall into the same trap by allowing ourselves to become distracted by the natural world around us.

There are areas of our lives where we’ve become insensitive to spiritual matters. These are places that you and I have closed off to the Holy Spirit resulting in our souls becoming hard in that area.

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