Is My Heart Hard? (Psalm 95:8-9)

What is it to have a harden heart?  Is it a hardened heart that struggles with faith?  Is a hardened heart one that has doubt?  Thankfully, the answer to these questions is, No.

Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. (Psalms 95:8-9)

A hardened heart is not a heart of doubt, because doubt is something that each of us face when we experience a trial.  A trial creates unrest in the believer and the circumstances present a message of doom to their heart.  In contrast, God, through his word and the working of the Holy Spirit, will speak a different message: one of hope and deliverance.  It is then, that the heart struggles to determine which message to believe.  Through faith, the believer trusts the Lord and experiences hope and eventually victory.  The believer’s problem was not doubt, because doubt is always present when there is faith.  It is faith that overcomes doubt.  So, a hardened heart is not one that has doubt.

What is a hardened heart?  A hardened heart is one that refuses to believe God. It looks at the circumstances and refuses to allow God to move him.  They aren’t doubting God, but rather they are fighting him. It is not that they are afraid, but instead are refusing to trust and are resisting any work that he tries to do.

So as you face a trial, it is okay to be afraid.  However, it is never right to fight and resist God.

Love not the World (1 John 2:15)

What is loving the world?  Simply stated, it is the opposite of loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  The question is, what in the world should I not love?  I love flowers, gardens, dogs, etc. They are in the world, but are they that part of the world to which I should avoid?  What were the first century Christians admonished to avoid?  It wasn’t cell phones, the Internet, or TV?  How can I tell what this passage means?

So many have attempted to answer this by creating lists of items, things or actions that they deem to be “of this world”.  They created more of a problem than a help.  For the moment, forget about the lists and consider what God says.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  (1 John 2:15-16)

God defines loving the world with the examples of lust and pride.  The contents of “the world” are things we lust after.  We lust after that which is not God’s will for our lives.  Lusting for a woman who is not your wife, coveting or lusting after the possessions of your neighbor or even lusting after a $500,000 house are some typical examples of this behavior. 

So, what must I do to keep from loving the world?  Love God and be content with what he has provided and you will be fine.  However, be dissatisfied or look over the proverbial fence for what you think may bring satisfaction to your soul in place of God and his provision and you will be guilty of this principle.

It is fine to have nice clothes, a new car and a beautiful house to live in: just keep them in the proper perspective.