Read Mark 6:45-52
Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
The Bible speaks of hardened hearts that prevent us from seeing the things of God clearly. We should at all times check our hearts to make sure that they are teachable and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. If our hearts become hardened, it’s because we have neglected spiritual things and we can choose to soften them by focusing on the right things again.
The symptoms of a hardened heart are:
- Not perceiving spiritual truth
- Lack of understanding
- Can’t hear God’s voice
- Lack of spiritual memory
- Spiritually backward
Things that harden our hearts to God:
Rebellion – Hebrews 3:7-11, Matthew 13:14-15
When you knowingly disobey God’s instructions to you, you harden your heart to Him. Wilfully sinning will cause you to have a hardened heart. When we do things that are against the Word of God, we slowly layer by layer, harden our hearts. It usually happens slowly over time and before you are even aware of it, your heart is dull or hard.
Wrong focus – Proverbs 23:7, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 13:20-22
What you focus on, your heart will be sensitive to and what you don’t focus on, your heart will be hardened against. If you are focused on the things of the world and the world’s troubles, instead of the things and promises of God, you will be sensitive to the world and hardened against God. A person who relates easier to the natural realm than the supernatural realm has a hardened heart.
Unbelief – Matthew 17:14-21
Unbelief or doubt will undermine your faith and harden your hear to the things of God. Unbelief can cohabitate with faith in your heart and cause you to be “double minded” (James 1:6-8). Your heart will be hardened to the spiritual things if you don’t deal with this.
How to soften your heart to God:
Focus on God and His Word
Read your Bible and talk to God. When you have ignored God for a long time, it can we difficult to get back into reading the Bible and praying, but it’s worth persevering in this. As you spend time with God, you will find the desire to do so will increase and it will get easier. This is a sign that the hardness is receding.
Study what it means to be a new creation, free from sin
As you understand what it means to be born-again and a new creation, you will learn that you are no longer a helpless victim to sin. You are now free from sin, no longer it’s slave. As you walk free from sin, it will no longer be able to harden your heart.
Learn to walk by faith and get rid of unbelief
In Matthew 17:14-21, Jesus heals a boy who has severe fits. In this story, the disciples had both faith and unbelief which hindered their ability to heal the boy. This is double mindedness or doubt (James 1:6-8). We are to spend time in prayer and fasting to refocus us on God’s promises. Fasting does not move or change God, it re-calibrates us to spiritual things by denying our physical appetites for a time. Our physical bodies want to rule us but we should be ruled by our born-again spirits. Fasting is a method of putting our physical bodies in their place and giving the spiritual the lead position in our lives.