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.
It is not unbelief that angers The Lord, but a hard heart. A person hardens their heart by resisting truth that is brought to it. The person recognizes the truth and resists it so that it will not change them. People who harden their hearts keep themselves from receiving the workings of God and his grace in their hearts. They aren’t confused and they aren’t struggling to accept or understand truth. They create a fortress of their heart and will not allow God or his truth to enter.
Did you ever get picked on when you were a kid? Of course you have and if you were like the rest of us, you purposes in your heart that you were not going to cry. No matter what people did to you, you would harden yourself to make sure that you wouldn’t allow yourself to give in. You may have ran home, gone in the house and cried your heart out, but you weren’t going to do it in front of them.
Did you know that many people are still acting the same way. They expanded from not being moved to cry to where they don’t allow themselves to be moved. Sadly to say, they act this way towards God. Somewhere along the line, things in life did not work out as planned, so they decide to take over and take change. Regardless of what God does, they purpose not to give in to him.
One of Job’s friends made a comment about such people. He said, “He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?” (Job 9:4)
Stop and think, can anybody really win when they harden themselves against God? Of course not, but people do it anyway. The children of Israel continually did it while they wandered in the wilderness and God’s people today are no different. What they fail to recognize is that they are yielding to somebody. Everybody does: they either yield to God or they yield to the enemy who is moving their heart against God. How foolish.
What can we do? What should we do? God says that we should instruct them in meekness in hopes that God may give them repentance. (2 Timothy 2:25). Until that time comes, hold on because the road will definitely get rocky.