Let’s focus on the instruction not to harden our hearts in this chapter.
Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalm 95:8-11. It was directed to the Israelites who were being led by Moses through the wildness to the promise land after being saved from Egypt. While in the wilderness they were beginning to harden their hearts towards God as the journey became tough, unbelief grew and they wanted to go back to Egypt.
The Israelites represent me and you. Egypt symbolises the world we have been saved from. The wilderness is the journey to wholeness. There will be tests & trials and times where it feels like God isn’t in control anymore but He is. This is where it becomes easy to harden our hearts and start to doubt Him and His promise to us.
What exactly does it mean to harden your heart?
When your heart is hard it means it is resistant, impenetrable, unyielding and unmalleable.
If our hearts are resistant how can we obey what God is telling us to do. God is always laying things on our hearts. He may be tugging on your heart as a warning to get out of a situation or lay on your heart an instruction to pray for someone. If our hearts are hardened we will resist these things that God wants us to do. A hardened heart will not yield to the Holy Spirit. Remember the bible says that those who are sons of God are LED by the Spirit, so can a heart heart really be led? If left long enough, we would have resisted the voice of the Spirit for so long that we can’t even hear Him anymore which is a scary place to be because we would begin to lack conviction for our wrongdoing which means we would feel no need to repent!
If our hearts are impenetrable how can God dwell there? We wouldn’t let Him in !!! This is where God wants to be, in your heart, right at the centre of all that you do. Here is a questions for you, do you really believe that without God, we are nothing? We NEED Him in our hearts to guide and direct us. Also, if nothing can get in, nothing can probably get out. All the hurt and pain we might have in our hearts stays locked in there. When we build walls, the only person we imprison is ourselves! The bible says the heart is the wellspring of life, so break down those walls, let all the hurt out and allow God to penetrate your heart with love and life.
If our hearts are unmalleable, they are difficult to mould and change. God has started a work in us and He has promised to complete and perfect it. But He won’t if you do not allow Him. If we remained the same people we were before salvation, then what was the point. What was we saved from and what happened to the work God started? We need to allow him to mould us into the people he planned for us to be. His plan is so much greater than our own because He can see the bigger picture of our lives. He knows what is best for us. This reminds me of a skit called “Gods Chisel”. Please please please watch it (link below) because it explains this point so perfectly and is quite interesting.
Change is hard because we so badly want to hold on to what we know (i.e going back to Egypt). It can also hurt because it forces us to deal with sensitive areas. But it is necessary. It might feel like an attack and you might think you will be broken. Broken. That is where He wants us, so He can build us back up into what He intended before the fall of man. We all become new creatures in Christ. There is nothing too bad or too big for God.
So as you can see having a hardened heart is dangerous ! It is something that can take us right out of the will of God for our life.
How can we soften our hearts?
- Think about what caused you to harden your heart. Did someone hurt you? Are you going through a tough time? Are you scared? Be honest with yourself and deal with that root. You might need to forgive someone or exercise patience or remind yourself that God loves you and has a plan and future for you. Whatever it is, cut that root and fix your eyes on Jesus.
- Pray. Ask God to swap your heart of stone for a heart of flesh. Not flesh in the carnal manner of course, but flesh so that you can feel and be sensitive to the Spirit again. Ask for that union between you and God to be restored, invite Him back into your heart.
- Study the word. The word is a double edged sword cutting between soul and spirit and able to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Hebrews 4 tells us this. The word is like a mirror, it tells us what we should actually look like and we realise that we don’t match up. It helps us to discern between godly and ungodly. Be obedient to the word. You will find it hard to hold on to a hardened heart.
- Like we saw in Gods Chisel, don’t stop God from working you. You are His masterpiece, allow Him to complete the work. As He searches you and begins to dig things out, let Him. If it is not from Him, it should not be in you.
“Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23)
Thanks for reading!