Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” This verse tells us that when God works in our lives and speaks to us, we have a choice. Will we choose to soften our hearts to His work in us, or will we harden our hearts to Him and the circumstances He is allowing?
In fact, it is possible for us as believers to have a tender heart for a season, but then slowly turn and allow our hearts to become hard. This is a scary place to be. We can go years before we really begin to recognize the symptoms.
But the Lord will not just let us go. He will allow circumstances to pound us so our hearts will once again become soft and pliable. The people of Israel are the perfect example of this. Just think of how many times God allowed them to face famines, hardships, oppression, defeat and captivity in order to soften their hearts and help them return to Him!
How should we respond to God in this process? We should yield to His work and not make it more difficult for Him. The Enemy works constantly to lure us to the place in which we harden our hearts. It must be our highest priority to keep our hearts with all diligence (see Proverbs 4:23). No matter how long we’ve traveled or how soft our hearts are right now, we have the choice just around the corner to allow either blessings or trials to harden our hearts. That’s why Proverbs says “with all diligence.” Keeping our hearts will not happen casually.
What are some of the potholes we may run into along the way?
Out of all the temptations, I believe the worst is having an elevated view of ourselves. Whether it is something significant we did for the kingdom or an area in which we feel superior, we can easily slip into feeling important and not recognize that our hearts are filled with pride, arrogance and an exalted view of ourselves.
We must remind ourselves that all the gifts, talents and ministry we have are given to us by the Lord. It’s all God’s grace. Look for opportunities to humble yourself. Choose to submit to one another (see Ephesians 5:21) and lay down your own preferences for the sake of others. Don’t fight for your rights, and be willing to give up something. Grace is given to those who are humble (see James 4:6), not to those who are right or feel indispensable.
This entry was written by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.