WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 14, 2022
TOPIC: STOP HARDENING YOUR HEART
BY T. O. BANSO
“Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (Proverbs 28:14 New King James Version).
The LORD had told the prophet Isaiah that He was sending him to a stubborn people, the people of Judah, who would not respond to his word. “And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10 New King James Version).
The prophet Isaiah asked the LORD how long the heart of the people would be hardened against the Word of the LORD he would deliver to the Israelites. God’s answer showed that they would continue until the nation was destroyed, remaining only a remnant.
Isaiah 6:11-13 said, “Then I said, ‘Lord, how long?’And He answered: ‘Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump” (New King James Version).
How long will you continue to harden your heart? How long will you continue to reject the Word of God? How long will you continue to reject godly counsel? I pray that no reader of this devotional will continue to harden his heart until he destroys himself or his family, marriage, business, ministry, etc.
Some people hardly listen to the advice, guidance, correction, etc. of others, including those who are more knowledgeable or mature than they are. The only person they often listen to is themselves. They worship their own opinions. Their parents, spouses, friends, or pastors have spoken to them in the past over some matters or a particular matter, many times, but they have remained stubborn.
It is even disappointing when such hard-hearted persons claim to be Christians. Some of them would prefer to go from one prayer mountain to another instead of obeying the Word of God and listening to the Holy Spirit and the voice of God through the persons he has placed in their lives. With the stubborn hearts that they have, who do they think they’re praying to? God? A few of them cannot mention the local church they belong to or the name of their pastor because they have rejected the counsels and corrections of their pastors and, sometimes, the discipline of the church. What kind of Christians are they?
Some people would not be in the condition they are today if they had not hardened their hearts. Some said they had prayed about certain issues and were convinced about the decisions they wanted to make, which was contrary to the counsel of their pastor and the counsel of some mature believers. But time proved them wrong. They now wished they had listened to godly counsel.
Some families are suffering today because some husbands hardened their hearts against the Holy Spirit. Some husbands hardened their hearts against the wise counsel of their wives. They said they were the head of their homes and the ones to make decisions! Against the godly advice of their wives, they took some decisions, which plunged the entire family into a season of hardship. Also, some women are suffering today because they hardened their hearts.
Why do we have so many cases of divorce today even among Christians? It is because of the hardness of the heart, leading to failure to repent of sin, ask for forgiveness or forgive, change behaviour, etc. God hates divorce but it continues to happen because wives or husbands, or both are hard-hearted. How can someone call himself/herself a Christian and will not listen to the correction of the Holy Spirit? Romans 8:14 says as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Are those who refuse to listen to or be led by the Holy Spirit truly sons of God? Repentance and obedience are better than prayer and fasting!
Mark 10:2-6 says, “The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ testing Him. And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female’” (New King James Version). Did you see that? The hardness of the heart!
But didn’t God say, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them”? (Ezekiel 36:26-27 New King James Version). Ezekiel 11:19 also talks about replacing the heart of stone with a heart of flesh. How can you be a Christian and continue to have a heart of stone instead of a heart of flesh?
Billy Graham said, “There is no marriage that is beyond repair in the sight of God. If we will first submit ourselves to Christ and then our marriage into His care and keeping, nothing is impossible.” But a hardened heart does not listen to God.
How long will you continue to harden your heart? Some readers of this post must repent and reconsider their positions on some matters they have rejected godly counsels by some persons or the Holy Spirit. Must such people wait until their lives, marriages, or businesses are ruined before they realize their follies?
Proverbs 28:14 says, “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (New King James Version). This was the story of the children of Israel. They hardened their hearts to God; they rebelled against Him. The LORD said in Psalm 95:8, “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness” (New King James Version).
Zechariah explained to the Jews in Jerusalem, who had returned from captivity in Babylon, how the disobedience of their ancestors led to their captivity. He said, “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 7:12 New King James Version). The people of Judah hardened their hearts against God and followed the dictates of their hearts (Jeremiah 5:23; 9:14; 11:8; 16:12). They suffered the consequences.
Those who harden their hearts against the Word of God will not escape the judgment of God. It may appear as if there won’t be any consequence for their actions, but they’re only storing up punishment for themselves. No sinner will escape the punishment of God.
Romans 2:4-6 says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’” (New King James Version).
Don’t harden your heart. Respond to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and godly counsel. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13 New King James Version).
When your heart is hardened, you can’t understand what the Lord is saying (Mark 6:51-52; 8:17; 3:5). If you have hardened your heart, repent and receive a new heart. Don’t destroy yourself. “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31 New King James Version). Submit yourself to God. Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and stop being stubborn or stiff-necked (Deuteronomy 10:16).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any way that I have hardened my heart against Your Word, the Holy Spirit. or godly counsel or correction I commit henceforth to walk in obedience. I shall no longer harden my heart against Your Word, the Holy Spirit. or godly counsel or correction. Holy Spirit, cause hardened hearts to be circumcised and every stony heart to become a heart of flesh.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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