The Heart - Part Four
How do we heal a heart that is hardened?
There are many people who read books and articles or hear sermons about a hardened heart and immediately start thinking about everyone else in their life, because there is no way they could be talking about them. However, that kind of thinking is a sign of a hardened heart. If we refuse to see the need for healing or growth, our hearts have become hardened by pride.
If we allow our hearts to continue this way, our lives will be unproductive and we’ll be frustrated. The first step in solving this problem is recognizing that there is a problem. We have to realize that we have a hardened heart towards God in one way or another.
We don’t need to condemn ourselves for this. We just need to know if it’s true about us and allow God to work in our lives to fix the problem.
How do we know if we have a hardened heart or not?
One of the best ways to find out is by asking God. He promises to give us wisdom for every area of our lives. He’ll show us where we have shut Him out and help us soften our hearts.
There are ways that we can see where our hearts are hardened in our day-to-day lives. One indicator of a hardened heart is if we need constant validation from everyone around us.
If we always need other people to tell us how good we are, what a great job we’re doing, etc., then we have placed our confidence in man and not in God. What we’re saying is, “God, I know the Bible says that you love me and that I’m righteous in Christ, but I don’t totally believe it, so I’m going to continue to seek love and approval elsewhere.”
This is a spirit of fear and insecurity. We are afraid of the idea that what God says about us isn’t actually true, and it makes us insecure around people. So we have to constantly make sure that we’re on good terms with them.
God created us to get everything we need from Him. If He says that we are loved and approved of, that should be more than enough. When we go around seeking approval from everyone else, it means that we aren’t putting our faith in our heavenly Father; we’re putting it in man, and we have a hardened heart.
How do we fix this problem?
Through the power and word of God.
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The spirit of fear that makes us insecure and timid around people is not from God. That means we don’t have to accept it. We have to resist the need to seek out the approval of man.
The first step is how we talk to ourselves. We need to tell ourselves that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We don’t just need to do this once a day. We need to do this every time we sense feelings of inadequacy creeping into our minds. Confessing the word of God will cause us to overcome the spirit of fear.
We also need to make a conscious effort to stop asking everyone what they think about every aspect of our lives. We don’t need everyone’s opinion about our outfit, our hair, our choices, etc. We should seek the wisdom of God and the counsel of strong, godly people and let everyone else’s opinions fall where they may.
When we do these two things, we’ll see our hearts soften towards God. The voice of God will be clearer because it won’t be drowned out by everyone else’s voice. We’ll be more confident because our approval will come from our absolutely loving heavenly Father and not the fickle opinions of man.
This is just one way to tell if our hearts are hardened. We’ll look at more signs of a hardened heart and how to move past them in the weeks to come.