How and why does a heart become hard toward God? What does a hardened heart look like? What does one look like whose heart has been hardened toward God?
Some say that one with a hardened heart is spiritually ignorant or blinded. He cannot see the truth of the glory of God. His intuitiveness is darkened and he has become self focused, to the exclusion of the light. When illumination is cast upon him, he cannot see or even sense it. His heart has grown cold; it has hardened. The bible also talks to us about hardened hearts. Let’s read what it has to say because it actually sheds a lot of light upon this topic of the hard heart.
Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
The “hard” or “impenitent” heart is one that is not remorseful, or regretful. It is unrepentant, uncontrite. The hard heart doesn’t care about sin and sees sin as something that just doesn’t apply in his life, isn’t important; for him it may not even exist.
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
This passage shows us that sin is “deceitful.” It can fool or trick us. We can be deluded by sin to the point that it begins to harden our hearts. Sin changes who we are and most especially when we give into it and allow it to rule us.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
The natural man cannot understand the things of God. He believes they are foolish. He is not spiritual naturally. He is sinful naturally. Man has a sin nature. He cannot comprehend the things of God until and unless he has a change of heart, and his heart softens toward God. A soft heart opens man up to God.
Mark 8:17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
Jesus is saying that one cannot perceive or understand when one’s heart is hardened. Something has blinded the disciples and in this case, it’s their hearts being hardened that may be the problem. Jesus points out for us in this passage that He questions why His disciples didn’t understand. Jesus wonders if they have become hardened/ spiritually blinded to what He was saying.
The following few paragraphs make the hard heart a little clearer:
Sometimes it’s difficult to spot the difference between a hard and a seeking heart. I remember once as a student at the University of Minnesota I was having an intense conversation with a fellow-student named Jack about Christ. He kept peppering me with questions about the Bible, the problem of evil, science and Christianity, etc. After about two hours of patiently answering his questions (and honestly admitting when I just didn’t have an answer),
I finally blurted, “Jack, if we could meet for the next few months once a week and patiently study these issues, and if you found answers that were intellectually satisfying, would you be open to accepting Christ as your Savior?” Without hesitation, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Not in the least. I have chosen my path in life and I don’t want God or anyone else interfering with me.”
When the Pharisees asked for a “sign from heaven” it was in line with Jack’s questioning. They didn’t have an open mind; they had a closed and hardened heart. And according to the Bible, this is true for all of us: we are seekers, we are thirsty for knowledge and truth; but on a deeper level, we’re also twisted in our search for truth, we’re on a spiritual journey away from God not towards God (Romans 3:11-12).
This is the problem of the hardened heart. And notice Jesus’ response: he doesn’t play their game. We have a tendency to think that Jesus was always nice and sweet. He wasn’t. Actually, in verse 12 Jesus said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? I tell you the truth (a phrase that literally meant “I’ll die before I do this”), no sign will be given it.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “I’m not playing your petty game. When your heart is hardened by sin, and you’re not willing to face it, there’s really nothing I can do for you. Another ‘sign’ won’t change your heart.”
And then in verse 13 we read “Then he left them, got into the boat and crossed over to the other side.” The bodylanguage is clear: Jesus was saying, “Any further discussion with you guys is a waste of my time. The problem isn’t here (point to my brain); the problem is here (point to my heart). And until you deal with your heart condition, you’ll never be happy with me.”
The natural tendency of our unredeemed hearts, our hearts outside the reach of God’s grace, is to move towards hardness. And there are so many things that can harden our hearts: circumstances, people, our work, our busyness.
But when we come under the influence of Jesus, when we ask and invite the Holy Spirit to come into our lives, when we stand with Jesus at the foot of the cross, when we see that He loved us and gave himself for us and for our salvation even when we weren’t open, we weren’t seeking him, we were the hardened lump of clay (point to the hard lump); all of this begins to break our hearts wide open and then it begins to soften our hearts so God can work in us and God can use us for His purposes (point to the soft clay).
- God Hardened Their Hearts (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com)