What are the Causes and Solutions for a Hardened Heart? | GotQuestions.org

Today’s question is, “What are the causes
and solutions for a hardened heart?” In this video I’ll answer that question
from a biblical perspective. Afterwards, as always, I’ll share some helpful
resources, so stick around until the end. To better understand the causes and solutions
for a hardened heart, it’s important to understand the broad biblical meaning of the
word “heart.” The Bible considers the heart to be the hub
of human personality, producing the things we would ordinarily ascribe to the “mind.” For example, Scripture informs us that grief;
desires; joy; understanding; thoughts and reasoning; and, most importantly, faith and
belief are all products of the heart. Also, Jesus tells us that the heart is a repository
for good and evil and that what comes out of our mouth – good or bad – begins in
the heart. Considering this, it’s easy to see how a
hardened heart can dull a person’s ability to perceive and understand. Anyone’s heart can harden, even a faithful
Christians’. In fact, in Mark 8:17–19 we see Jesus’
own disciples suffering from this malady. The disciples were concerned with their meager
bread supply, and it was clear that each of them had forgotten how Jesus had just fed
thousands with only a few loaves. Questioning them as to the hardness of their
hearts, Christ spells out for us the characteristics of this spiritual heart condition as an inability
to see, understand, hear, and remember. Regarding this last criterion, too often we
forget how God has blessed us and what He has done for us. Similar to the disciples in this instance
or the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, when a new calamity arises in our lives, our
hearts often fill with fear and concern. Sadly, this simply reveals to God the little
faith we have in His promise to take care of us. We need to remember not only the many times
God has graciously provided for us in our time of need, but also what He has told us:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Sin causes hearts to grow hard, especially
continual and unrepentant sin. Now we know that “if we confess our sins,
[Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). However, if we don’t confess our sins, they
have a cumulative and desensitizing effect on the conscience, making it difficult to
even distinguish right from wrong. And this sinful and hardened heart is tantamount
to the “seared conscience” Paul speaks of in 1Timothy 4:1–2. Scripture makes it clear that if we relentlessly
continue to engage in sin, there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased
mind” and let us have it our way. The apostle Paul writes about God’s wrath
of abandonment in his letter to the Romans where we see that godless and wicked “men
who suppress the truth” are eventually given over to the sinful desires of their hardened
hearts (Romans 1:18–24). Pride will also cause our hearts to harden. The “pride of your heart has deceived you
. . . you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground’ . . . I will
bring you down declares the LORD” (Obadiah 1:3). Also, the root of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness
was his pride and arrogance. Even in the face of tremendous proofs and
witnessing God’s powerful hand at work, Pharaoh’s hardened heart caused him to deny
the sovereignty of the one, true God. And when King Nebuchadnezzar’s “heart
became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped
of his glory . . . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms
of men and sets over them anyone He wishes” (Daniel 5:20–21). Accordingly, when we’re inclined to do it
our way, thinking we can “go it on our own,” it would be wise to recall what King Solomon
taught us in Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the
end it leads to death.” So, what then is the antidote for a heart
condition such as this? First and foremost, we have to recognize the
effect that this spiritual disease has on us. And God will help us to see our heart’s
condition when we ask Him: “Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any
offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). God can heal any heart once we recognize our
disobedience and repent of our sins. But true repentance is more than simply a
resolute feeling of steadfast determination. Repentance manifests itself in a changed life. After repenting of our sins, hard hearts begin
to be cured when we study God’s Word. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart. . . . I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9–11). The Bible is our manual for living as it is
“God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”
(2 Timothy 3:16). If we are to live life to the fullest as God
intended, we need to study and obey God’s written Word, which not only keeps a heart
soft and pure but allows us to be “blessed” in whatever we do (Joshua 1:8; and James 1:25). Hearts can also become hardened when we suffer
setbacks and disappointments in life. No one is immune to trials here on earth. Yet, just as steel is forged by a blacksmith’s
hammer, so, too, can our faith be strengthened by the trials we encounter in the valleys
of life. As Paul encouraged the Romans: “But we also
rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God
has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans
5:3–5). Want to learn more? Subscribe so you don’t miss the next video! Visit GotQuestions.org for more great content. And check out the details section below this
video, there you’ll find one book I recommend, along with links to several related questions. If you’d like to learn about Bible Munch,
or if you’re interested in Bite-sized devotionals, subscribe to Bible Munch on YouTube, it’s
linked right here. Now remember, Got questions? The Bible has answers, and we’ll help you
find them!

Bernard Jenkins

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