A hardened heart what does it really and what are some of the signs against this deadly disease amongst Christians and non-Christians today, and how can we soften this hard heart is what we shall look into today.
A spoiler alert, a hardened heart is not the physical heart being made hard by some force or thing but an impressing to define the state of the heart, and when we talk of the heart, we mean the spirit and not the organ as some may think. So, let’s understand firstly what a hardened heart is?
- 1 What is a hardened heart?
- 2 What causes a hardened heart?
- 3 Signs of a hardened heart
- 4 How to soften a hardened heart?
What is a hardened heart?
A hardened heart is a state of the heart in which it loses the power to understand and receive the things of God. It is a blind hardening of the heart from receiving the purposes and promises of God. A hardened heart is insensitive and unresponsive to the touch of God.
It is that negative and unresponsive and feeling that one has towards the things and purposes of God. The very scent of God irritates a hardened heart. A hardened heart does not want to submit to the authority of God; it has been trained by the devil to question that authority and leading.
What causes a hardened heart?
God will never twist our hands to obey Him. When we choose to follow him deliberately and continually, we frustrate the grace available to help us; we open ourselves to be controlled by our flesh, leading to a hardened heart.
I know very well that it is not possible right now to live a perfectly holy life, but when you deliberately choose to disobey God and not only once or twice but, on many occasions, then this is what leads to your heart is hardened.
Why did the Pharisees refuse to accept Jesus because their heart was hardened and this came because of what they were taught? They never expected someone like Jesus to be the Messiah, and so when he showed up, they rejected him.
Even among them, some heart a perfect heart, they sought what the scriptures say and not what they were taught and among them was Nicodemus who came and told Jesus; no one can do what you do unless God was with him, he had understood, the power and authority of God.
Feeding your flesh constantly
What you feed will eventually grow, and be very careful when it overgrows that it entangles you so much, it leaves your heart more hardened. This is what the flesh does when given power; it wants to disobey God.
The flesh is always against the spirit, it always wants to disobey God, and when it becomes strong enough, it does so by hardening your heart such that you cannot respond to the things of God but only to respond to its needs and lusts.
Lack of proper faith
Someone might not be listening to the wrong doctrine, but still, their heart is hardened. This is because they have not made faith personal, and God can only work and dwell in us by faith.
When they do not have true faith, they are exposed to the control of the flesh and sin, which eventually hardened their hearts. Faith softens the heart; it reveals how vulnerable you are and your need for the saviour.
The perfect example of this is Cain; after he killed his brother, he refused to settle his issue with God but instead, he chose to run away from his presence. Self-righteousness is one serious cause of a heart becoming hard.
Cain trusted more on himself. He could have just asked God to forgive him for killing his brother, but when he chooses to run away from God, he chooses the side of self-righteousness; since Cain had messed up, God could not help him; that is what he had in mind.
Signs of a hardened heart
The supernatural does not impress you.
A story is given in Mark 6: 52 tells a story of one of the most breath-taking things Jesus did, he came walking on water to his disciples, and his disciple was so afraid, and he tells them not to be scared.
Mark writes and says in the 53rd verse that because they looked this amazed and afraid, they had a hardened because Jesus had done things that were unbelievable before, and he gave an example of the miracle of the loaves. Failure to believe and be impressed by the supernatural is a sign of a hardened heart.
Lack of spiritual understanding
Another story that depicts this sign is given in the book of Mark 8:17; Jesus made a statement about the leaven of the Pharisee, and immediately the disciples started to discuss amongst themselves why they did not carry bread that day.
They misinterpreted what the word Jesus spoke meant and, in that, Jesus asked them if they had hardened their hearts. The primary sign of a hardened heart does not understand the things of God, even the basics.
Constant sickness and pain
Okay, you can have all your say about sickness and pain being a sign of a hardened heart, but it is what the scriptures say. Take a look at the words of the Prophet Isaiah that John quoted in John 12: 40. The scriptures say that because their eyes were blinded and their heart hardened, the people could not heal God.
God wants us to live healthily, and when we face any sickness and disease and pain, he wants to heal us, but when you fail to get that healing even after asking for several years and months, it might be a sign that your heart is hard.
Continued disobedience of God
A hardened heart would want to get further and further from God. It does so by leading you to continuously disobey God and continue sinning more and more, disrupting your relationship with God and hardening your heart.
Once he has started influencing your life, the devil would not want to stop; he wants to wreck your life; this is how Satan works; he only wants to destroy and kill. So, a hardened heart will show signs of continued disobedience of God.
You find fulfilment in those outside God.
Christians joy in the things of God; we find fulfilment in serving and seeking God. However, when we start to feel like the things of the world starts to give us joy and satisfaction, we then have to be careful; it is a sign of a hardened heart.
It is okay to have fun in the world, go to the beach and play with your friends, and attend birthday parties, but when you find that you are happier when you do those things, then is it the red light.
You don’t find time for God.
God will never compete for your time; He will always present himself to you, and the choice to choose him will be up to you and not Him. You have to pick him; you have to make a deliberate choice to make time for God.
When you find yourself choosing other things and programs instead of choosing Christian related programs or even personal time with God, this is a big sign that we have distanced ourselves from God, and it is a big sign that our heart is hardened towards him.
Church feels strange
This is probably the worst situation; when you feel Church is strange to you, this is a serious sign that your heart is thorny towards God. When Church, church activities and generally Christianity feels odd to you, watch out.
We as Christians should love Church and attend it regularly, but when someone mentions Church to you, and you be like, what is that or generally, you don’t care about it. This is a sign that something big is wrong, a hardened heart.
How to soften a hardened heart?
Decide to read the bible.
The word is the tool that discerns right from wrong. The power of that word is what sets us free; it establishes deep conviction within us to desire more the things of God and to serve, worship and commune with God.
The bible is the book that can change any man; however, reading the bible should be yours alone. As I have said previously, a hardened heart would not want anything to do with God, but you have to force it; that is why it has to be a choice.
Decide to pray
Prayer must always be a decision; you must choose and make up your mind to pray. A hardened heart will not want to pray, but when you force yourself and decide to pray, you soften your heart even when you don’t feel like praying.
You can never underestimate the power of prayer in breaking any barrier. There is no hard heart that is hard enough to be broken in the presence of God. Prayer is a way out of hardcore.
Stay around, fellow Christians.
The saying iron sharpens iron should ring a bell when it comes to relationships and your association. You should choose to stay around Christians who are on fire for God; by this, what is upon them rubs to your life and softens a hard heart.
You cannot expect to stay around non-believers and people who have drained up spiritual life and expect your spiritual life to flourish. You must always choose your friends and not let your friends choose you; this is a way of getting fired up for God.
Attend Church regularly
Church collects all sorts of men and women, the most broken and the most depressed, and gives them hope when you feel that you are getting more insensitive to God. A simple way to grow that relationship is to attend Church.
In Church, you find encouragement and the correct teachings to help you draw you closer to God and build your relationship softening that hardened heart and getting you fired up for God. Never quit the Church in any circumstances.
Watch and listen to Christian content.
We must agree that ungodly content plants the wrong seed in us, and sometimes these seeds, when they have germinated and grown, tend to draw us away from God, hardening our hearts. It is therefore imperative that we watch the content we consume.
The Christian content might not be as entertaining as the worldly content, but entertainment is just a state of mind; once you decide to enjoy the Jesus content, you are planting the right seeds that promote a relationship with God and softens your heart.
Talk to someone about Jesus.
If you want to set your heart in order, sometimes all you have to do is talk to someone about Jesus. The response you will get will draw you to start seeking the Lord more because of the destruction that is to come to the children of disobedience.
Sometimes the courage and the motivation to seek God more and ignore the leading of a hardened heart is to know the state of other men. You will find out the real reason why you need God more and, as a result of this, be compelled to seek God and soften your heart towards the things of God.
Spend some time in meditation
Meditation is complex for a heart that seeks to estrange itself from the things of God because it knows the power of meditation, the emptying of the heart with the junk of this world and filling it with the very substance that is of God.
In meditation, Christian seeks to know the heart of God and translate that same experience into their seat. You think and speak about his goodness, mercies, power and love to yourself and as the scriptures tell us, what we think about becomes who we are.
Stay away from certain habits.
The daily habits that you get involved in will define how your day will be and consequently how the rest of the weeks, months and years will be. If you start your day with God, God will be all around you all days, months and years.
Likewise, certain habits draw us closer to God, and some draw us away from God. Therefore, you must get to know these habits that seek to make God less relevant in your life and stay from them. This is so helpful in setting the right environment for the heart to soften.
Talk to your pastor about it.
Your pastor acts as the authority of God in your life, they are responsible for your spiritual growth, and they give an account of your life to God, and besides that, they have the grace to teach and instruct you in the way of faith and grace.
Never be shy to face your pastor and talked to him about your heart showing signs of hardening. As someone with authority over you, he will further guide you on what to do and even pray with you and check out on you regularly to see you stay in the faith.
Sin disturbs relationships, and it is the leading cause of a hardened heart. Once sin is confessed and repented, the heart is cleansed and free to build a perfect, spotless relationship with God. This is, however, not so that we should not cling to the area of works.
Repentance should be a revelation and a decision rather than choosing to be at peace with God and man. You seek to mend every broken tie and submit to the power of God and his grace to live a life free of deliberate sin both to man and God.