It is going to take some courage to write about this. But in my daily bible reading (and subsequent journaling about it) I was hit square between the eyes-- and heart-- about hardened hearts.
I have always wondered about those times in scripture where it says 'and the people's hearts were hardened" or more specifically when it talks about how God hardens their hearts. I have always been left scratching my head over that one. Why would God harden their hearts? It just didn't make any sense to me.
Today, however as I read from Mark 4, the familiar passage about the farmer who sows the seeds in different kinds of soil with different results, what rose up to grab me was not the seeds or the soil but what Jesus says later to his disciples about talking in parables so that the others would not understand. There it was again. Deliberately.
Mark 4: 11 (Jesus) replied 'you are permitted to understand the secret about the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, so that the scripture might be fulfilled: (and here he quotes Isaiah 6.9-10) keep on listening but do not perceive, keep on looking but do not understand. render the hearts of the people insensitive....
I dug out my life application Bible and studied the foot notes. And from there I started to get it.
When we live in sin, and repeatedly sin, we become desensitized to it. the longer we allow the sin to control our lives, the harder we become. God's words no longer penetrate, they no longer cause us to be moved. God was saying, the people will listen but not hear because their hearts had become insensitive (hardened) beyond repentance. God's patience was exhausted and His judgment was to abandon them to their rebellion and hardness of heart.
Was I letting that happen in my life in anyway? When I read a passage and it no longer moves me, when I hear a sermon and it no longer convicts me, when i see things going on around me that are wrong but am no longer disturbed by it, is it because I have become insensitive to a sin in my life and allowed my heart to become hard?
I have to honest. I have. There are areas in my life that are still under my control, which means they are not under the Spirit's control, which means they are really under the enemy's control. It has made me insensitive. Insensitive in the sense that my conscience was pretty quiet over things that SHOULD make me uncomfortable.
And then, I was also made aware that it was not too late. the wall around my heart wasn't so firmly in place that the spirit knocking could not be heard. Jesus reminded me that my heart wasn't set ... yet... but left unchecked... it could be.
I immediately pictured a bowl of jello in the fridge that is only half set... I, figuratively speaking, gave my heart of jello a shake to see how much wiggle was left. Relieved to see it wasn't set I turned in prayer and repented.
I like this jello metaphor because I am a Christian, not a non-believer. If I had never given my heart to Christ, I think I might have seen my heart as cement... hardening a little more each day. But because I do have the Holy Spirit living in me, my jello-y heart will always have some wiggle in it.
from Psalm 52: Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit with in me. Cast me not away from thy presence O Lord and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me.