“Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost says, ‘Today, if you will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts’. . .”

Hebrews 3:7-8a

It starts slowly and its symptoms are subtle, but if left unchecked has eternal consequences.

“The hardened heart.”

You awaken one morning with a tightness of chest, pain shooting down your left arm, dizziness and profuse perspiring.  Would you say, “Ah, there’s nothing wrong; probably just indigestion”?  Or, would you dial 911, place an aspirin under your tongue or get someone to rush you to the emergency room?

Most likely the latter.

Why is that?

Simply because you have every symptom of a coming or occurring heart attack.  And, to ignore those physical red flags could very possibly put your life in danger.

Why, then, do so many ignore the warning sounded in today’s Manna about “the hardened heart”?  If we’re concerned about our physical heart’s condition, we should be even more concerned about our spiritual heart’s condition.  And, again, there’s no worse malady of soul than the “hardened heart” and “calcified conscience” (I Tim. 4:2).

The question is “How does one get a hardened heart?”

The anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who was writing to fellow Jewish-Christians evidently undergoing tremendous persecution and in danger of recanting their faith, is quite clear in his diagnosis of this spiritual condition.

First, he describes it as “an evil heart of unbelief” (v.12a).  It’s a heart that says “Well, I know what the Bible says, but. . .”  It’s a heart that is filled more with doubt than it is faith—and much of that is rooted in disobedience—for the writer goes on to say this heart-sufferer is one who has “departed from the living God” (v.12b).  Simply put, like Jonah, this person knows what God wants, but prefers to sing “I did it my way.”

Second, the heart grows harder because of “the deceitfulness of sin” (v.13b).  Oh how the evil one delights in “enlightened” arguments of rationalistic reasonings!  How easy it is to enter into foolish debates over what the Bible says or doesn’t say about this or that—when, in reality, God’s wondrous truths concerning eternity and our relationship with Him through Christ are simple enough for a child to understand, yet so complex that even the greatest theologian can never understand.

Remember:  One of the devil’s favorite tools is doubt and one of his favorite methodologies is deception.  He knows our three “Achilies’ Tendons” (I Jn. 2:16) very well and our propensity for being “drawn away by our own lusts” (James 1:13-15).   Therefore, we must always wear “The Full Christian Armor” (Eph. 6:10-18) and “be as wise as serpent and as gentle as doves” (Mt. 10:16).  That way we’ll never have to worry about having “a hardened heart.”

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated December 11, 2010

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