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. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion...”
Have you allowed your heart to harden…?
Recently, I was watching a livestream of Ps Steven Furtick’s sermon on “Choosing your chains.” During the sermon, he uses a C.H.A.I.N. acronym – Choice, Habit, Automatic, Identity and Nature. It was the progression of our deeply rooted attitudes and behaviours through our choices and decisions. After this sermon, I reflected upon all the times I have allowed disappointment, anger, hurt, doubt and unbelief to reign in my heart.
In Hebrews, the author writes to an audience to be aware about how our unbelief separates us from being in relationship with God. In this passage, it identifies our unbelief as our unwillingness to trust God. Unbelief is deeply rooted in deceit and presents as hardness on the surface. It is not the weakness of faith, but rather an opposition towards faith.
Hardening our hearts is often the response of what has happened to us rather than from others or our circumstances. Some examples are hardening our hearts through unbelief, asking for more signs, presuming upon the mercies of God and relapsing into old indifferences (David Guzik). So how can we soften our hearts and be responsive in our relationship with God?
1. The time is NOW!
The Holy Spirit identifies that there is no time like the present. While you may have heard of the saying ‘time heals all wounds’, the Holy Spirit invites us to act upon addressing this today as so far as providing an example of those previously lost in their unbelief (the hearts of the rebellion – Numbers 13 & 14).
2. Stay in FELLOWSHIP
While we are in fellowship, we hold one another accountable and keeps us from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. The word exhort is to call to one’s aid or side. Without the support of the fellowship, our belief in our God can shift into a belief in lies without us even knowing, thus distancing our relationship with God. Many Christians who have tried being separate from the church and other Christians often find their relationship with God also distant and some may even turn from God.
So consider the condition of your heart. Do you have the support around you? If not, what are you planning to do about it today?
- Melanie Riley