Hardening of the heart deprives the person of the ability to understand and to know God. The harder an individual’s heart becomes, the less that person is capable of understanding the consequence of his actions and in similar manner the less he is able to receive the word of God, which makes him capable of hurting others and, over time, of committing unspeakable atrocities. ~ “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3.7-8). The inability to understand God and His word is caused by what the Bible calls the ‘hardening of the heart.’ To the surprise of some, unbelievers are not the only ones who suffer from this spiritual malady. This fatal heart syndrome is also very common among Christians, and is a major reason many fall away from the faith. Even the Twelve Apostles suffered from hardening of the heart. ~ “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida…for they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened” (Mark 6.45,52).
Note that the Twelve could not understand the spiritual meaning of the miracle feeding of the five thousand that Jesus performed when He fed a massive gathering by multiplying five loaves1 and two fish. Their hearts were hardened and this impeded their ability to understand the things of God. And, so it continues to this very day — Rome burns while the churches sit idle because they are filled with hard hearted Christians, who are unable to receive or understand the word of God. In His discourse on the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus revealed the three main causes of spiritual atherosclerosis. So, let’s have a look at what many consider to be Christ’s most important teaching. ~ “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand [it], then the wicked [one] comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside” (Matthew 13.18,19). Bear in mind that Jesus specifically mentions 3 things: 1. “the word,” 2. “the heart,” and 3. “the understanding.”
The Weekend Christian
In addition, two more things are pointed out in this parable. First, the heart was hardened because they chose to live “by the wayside.” Second, because they lived by the wayside, their heart was hardened, which enabled ‘the wicked [one] to come and snatch away what was sown in their heart.’ This robbed them of the ability to receive and understand the word of God. So, here is the first of the three main causes of hardening of the heart —they chose to live “by the wayside.” These are those who are addicted to the darkness of the fallen secular society that surrounds them. On Sunday morning they are pious devout Christians, but the rest of the week they immerse themselves habitually in as much of the sin laden world that surrounds them as possible. This is the church member who loves the weekend more than he loves God. He can’t find the book of James in his Bible, but he can spontaneously recount in detail every movie at the theater as well as all of the latest Hollywood gossip. They have chosen to live ‘by the wayside;’ thus, divine justice has counted them unworthy and excluded them from the good things of the Kingdom of God. ~ “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1John 2.15).
The Final Solution
Their uncontrollable lust for the things of the world hardens their heart by constantly exposing them to the morally bankrupt values, sinful lusts, and deceptive philosophies of their depraved cravings. The only solution to this type of hardening of the heart is for the individual to pack up and move into a different neighborhood that is far away from the debauchery of ‘the wayside.’ Declare war on the things of the world and amputate them out of your heart. Let the love of God fill your soul, and He will provide you with real friends, a new family, and a tender discerning spirit capable of deep understanding and love for others.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
1. Mark 6.41
© L. Jonathan Blais 2021 All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.