Hardening Hard Hearts

Bitterness. Unforgiveness. Holding a grudge. Sin. All of these kinds of things harden our hearts. They stiffen us and build walls to keep people (and God) out. The enemy knows that if he can close you in and get you centered in on yourself, that you will implode. We are made like a filter - emotionally speaking. We need to be able to cycle through our emotions in a healthy way. There are good days and bad days and those who follow Jesus need to learn to appropriate every feeling we have.

The bible warns us to stay repentant and to remain in a place where we can be convicted by the Holy Spirit. If not, the hardening remains. Like a heart with vessels hardened by cholesterol, sin makes it difficult to feel for others and especially from God and then you die. The blood is there for your healing, but it cannot move to help. We only harden what is already hard when we stop the flow of the Holy Spirit.

What you have been eating is now eating you.

The Word of God needs to land on soft soil for growth in order to produce change in your life. Mark 4:16-17 talks about letting seeds fall on different kinds of ground. We could think of the status of our hearts in that way. Some of us are rocky and nothing will grow there. Some are thorny and allow the cares of this world to choke out anything good. Some seed falls on good ground. Those hearts are a good environment. They have been uprooted from the stuff holding them down and have allowed the Lord to cut out things that hinder their growth.

The fruit of gentleness is a product of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict and reform our hearts. When we are tempted to lash out at our spouse or to steal or gossip, the Lord will make you sensitive to the Word that has already been planted in your heart. The guilt that we feel is a sign that the fruit of gentleness has been planted. When we no longer have guilt, our hearts are too hard. God is knocking at the door of our hearts, but we cannot even hear Him anymore. The heart vessels are clogged. We cannot forgive. We can't let it go. We are unable to sense the Holy Spirit moving.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.... (Romans 1:27-28).

The Bible warns us of having these reprobate minds. We don't even want to hear from God once we reach a certain plateau. Don't let your heart go there. Don't wander to far away from the Lord because the wider that divide is, the harder it will be to get back to a soft heart. Think of it as a hard-boiled egg. It can't be soft again because it has been boiled. However, God is the God of do-overs and second chances. He can do it!

So how do we make a change? 

1. Return to your first love. Exchange your sin and bitterness and pride for His forgiveness, grace and hope. Sometimes it takes a while to identify all the things that have stunted your growth for so long. As the Lord to reveal even the hidden things that you hide from yourself. He is waiting to embrace us. Always.

2. Repent. God is holy. He is ready and willing to forgive you of what you have not even forgiven yourself of but we must acknowledge that we cannot do it alone. You will only harden a hard heart if you don't.

3. Plant. What God has removed from your heart is not an open space to re-introduce it. Tell the devil that he has NO PLACE any longer and he is completely evicted. Then you must quicky fill your heart with the Word of God. His promises and affirmations will sustain you and grow the fruit of gentleness where bitterness once resided.

Softening a hard heart is not easy, but it is necessary for growth in all of our relationships.


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