by Dr. Charles Stanley
Saturday July 9, 2005
What Makes a Heart Harden?
A heart that steels itself against God’s voice can become progressively resistant and calloused until it can no longer hear. The repeated decision to say “no” to God has the same effect on both unbelievers and believers—it gradually hardens the heart.
When God begins to deal with issues in our lives, we may be tempted to preoccupy ourselves with other things as an escape. We may be afraid of the changes that God is challenging us to make, thinking we can just put them off until we’re ready to deal with them. So when the Holy Spirit speaks, we rationalize our disobedience, or we distract ourselves with other thoughts and activities, pushing God farther and farther beyond the perimeter of our lives. As we become focused on these distractions, we lose sight of our “first love” (Revelation 2:4) until our hearts harden and we become desensitized to sin in our lives. This is how Satan can lure believers into a lifestyle of sin—he lets them gradually acclimate to unrighteousness.
We may think we are not blatantly sinning, but saying “no” to God is rebellion, which is at the very core of sin. And rebellion—which often begins with a refusal to relinquish control and trust God—stems from unbelief; it begins to gel when we decide that we have a better plan than the Lord’s way. But just as the serpent tempted Adam and Eve, sin makes promises it cannot fulfill. Soon we are redefining what God has said to cater to our own choices. This is why we must carefully guard and examine our hearts.
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