According to the apostle Paul, hardness of heart is produced as a result of a darkened understanding of spiritual things, a separation from the life of God and ignorance. Paul urges all believers to avoid anyone and anything that may cause us to fall prey to the old way of living.
“So with the wisdom given to me from the Lord I say: You should not live like the unbelievers around you who walk in their empty delusions. Their corrupted logic has been clouded because their hearts are so far from God—their blinded understanding and deep-seated moral darkness keeps them from the true knowledge of God. Because of spiritual apathy, they surrender their lives to lewdness, impurity, and sexual obsession. But this is not the way of life that Christ has unfolded within you. If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard His truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus! And He has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self-life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with Him! For God has re-created you all over again in His perfect righteousness, and you now belong to Him in the realm of true holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24 TPT
A hardened heart is also produced when you know that what you’re doing is wrong, but having gotten away with it for a while with no obvious or immediate consequences, you keep practicing until you become so good at it, your heart become calloused. We generally become hardened by what we are willing to accept. But Paul, under the unction of the Holy Spirit is not only pointing out the danger of living with a hardened heart, but cautioning us to avoid what leads to it.
He said you didn’t learn hardness of heart when you accepted the teachings about Christ and the truth that is in Jesus. Someone who takes a life will tell you that it gets easier after each killing, the same goes for someone who cheats, lies, embezzles, hates etc. over time the heart becomes cold and indifferent to conviction. The same is true for individuals who reject the teachings of Jesus. They keep watering it down to suit their lifestyle, searching the scriptures to support only what they want to believe, twisting and turning God’s Word so much so that they’re hardened to the truth it teaches.
The more they object the harder their hearts become. Paul write that they become darkened in their understanding. In one place he writes that they’re ever learning but never arriving at the truth.
“They are always learning but never discover the revelation-knowledge of truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7 TPT
The preceding verses gives us an even clearer picture of what gives birth to hardness of heart, and what it looks like and it ain’t pretty. The advice to avoid it is even more stark. No one who has experienced the goodness of God’s salvation should even want to be seen or thought of as having these qualities. Let’s read some of it shall we?
“But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly. They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 TPT
Ugly isn’t it? Hardness towards God and His Word is a direct result of ignorance of the Truth. This is why Pastors or anyone who ministers God’s Word to people must themselves be accurate and authentic in their beliefs. Compromise on any level is unacceptable. Our opinions don’t amount to anything. We must be led by the Holy Spirit every time we open our mouths to share His truths. God does not allow for disclaimers, there’s no need. His Word stands with complete accuracy. He stands behind every dot. If you teach it His way it will produce His results.
We know that not everyone who hears the Word will receive it. But never water it down or compromise it to suit anyone. It’s a one size fits all gospel. No adjustments necessary. Let the Word be its own interpreter. God designed it that way. It’s fireproof. It has been challenged since He became flesh and it’s not going to change. Just be consistent. The Lord knows those who are His. But He presents the same offer to everyone. Acceptance and rejection is a choice we all have to make. Our hearts are softened when we open them, hardened when we close them.
Avoid bitterness and unforgiveness don’t hold grudges and resentments towards others. Love deeply and sincerely. Be honest, compassionate and merciful no matter the temptation to be otherwise. Be open to Holy Spirit encounters, especially as you read or hear God’s Word. If you practice these things they’ll stave off hardness of heart. Recite daily Galatians 5:22. Until you begin to wear each characteristic as a garment. When you feel your heart becoming agitated or enraged, resist the urges quickly by speaking what the fruit of the Spirit is. Remember the old you has died. Avoid what produces a hardened heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right Spirit within me. In Jesus Name.🙏
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit