Do Not Harden Your Heart
by Ted Burleson
Six-year-old Heather mashed the Playdough in her pretty little hands and formed it into one big glob. Mommy called for her, so she left the Playdough and went to her. Days later, she tried to mash the Playdough, but it had hardened so that she could not change its shape.
Thirteen-year-old Heather held her Bible in her maturing teenage hands and folded her hands to pray. Becky had asked her to go to the mall instead of going to church, and she went with her. Weeks later, she missed church again, and it did not bother her as much the second time.
Sixteen-year-old Heather held Jimmy in her shaking hands and closed her eyes as they passionately kissed. Jimmy had asked her to go all the way, and she went along with him. Months later, she tried to pray, but it seemed hard for her to believe that God was still listening.
Eighteen-year-old Heather held little Jimmy with her best “mothering” hands and closed her eyes as the baby cried and cried. Jimmy had asked her to get an abortion, but she kept her baby alive. Years later, she thought about calling her preacher, but it seemed to her that too much had happened to turn back now.
Stories like Heather’s begin, go on, and end every day. Heather learned that just as the Playdough hardens and the shape no longer changes, hearts can harden, and changes become even more difficult than ever. This lesson repeats an ancient theme: God can heal hardened hearts if we soften our hearts enough to invite Him into our lives. The vital requirement is for us to refuse to allow our hearts to harden.
In Hebrews 3:7-11, the writer to the Hebrews shows that turning a deaf ear to God’s instructions causes God to be angry. Christians must refuse to repeat the history of God’s rebellious people who did not learn God’s way. If we want to live for Jesus in this life and go to heaven in the life to come, we must not harden our hearts.
Remember God’s Old Testament people, Israel? They continually rebelled against God and refused to obey His commands. They murmured and complained and worshiped idols. It is easy to see their mistakes because of hardened hearts, but we must guard our hearts to keep from being just like them.
Read Hebrews 3:12-15 and ask if there is an “evil heart of unbelief” leading you away from God? Are you encouraging someone today to live for Jesus? Are Satan and sin deceiving you? The writer of Hebrews instructs his readers that to please God, we must listen to His voice and obey His commands.
You can see the progression of a heart hardened by apathy and sin in Heather’s story. Bible camps, youth retreats, worship services, and gospel meetings are all part of an effort to encourage you to remain active in God’s family. Satan makes it seem easy to leave God’s people, but the consequences are far from easy to bear.
Look again at Heather’s story. Where could she have altered the course of her life? Even though it will be tough for Heather, she can allow God to soften her hardened heart. Her heart is softening, and God is slowly being allowed back in her life.