Have you ever met someone who was just plain stubborn? They claim to be, “set in their ways.” Now, have you ever seen that person’s reflection in the mirror when you look at it? Be honest! At some point, I think we can all relate to it, and hopefully, it is in the past tense (the former things). Yet, I am sure that you know someone, at least one person, who continually makes it obvious that it’s their way or the highway…that they’re the expert…that they are obstinate about what they want.
God declares it is an issue of the heart. Moreover, it has been around since the beginning, documented in the lives of people we learn about in God’s Word as well as people we live, love, and work with. Pharaoh is probably the most popular illustration in the Bible of a person with a hard heart that continued to get harder. God repeatedly presented Pharaoh with the Truth of Who He was. Yet, Pharaoh wouldn’t bow, acknowledge, and come to understand that there was One greater than he. It’s recorded in Exodus.
All of us have experienced the stubborn desire to have things the way we want them – even when “our way” wasn’t God’s way. Again, hopefully for all Christian believers and belongers, this struggle is in the past tense. Pharaoh wanted it “his way” and “his way only.” God has given us plenty of examples to clear up any confusion on our part. The more we can be fooled and duped into believing that we’re right and God is wrong (or even second), the more we are in extreme danger of developing a hard heart.
But let’s not despair. We can rejoice in God’s love, grace, and generosity. He has given us a blueprint to follow. God wouldn’t leave us without a Way to experience victory over our sin, error, and selfish tendencies. He has given His Son: our Lord, our Savior, our Sanctifier, our Standard. Are there people, are there churches, are there brothers and sisters who serve alongside of us who fit in with Romans 1, v.21, where Paul writes: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” I like what Charles Stanley says, pertaining to sin and righteous living. He states: “As we grow as Christians, sin should bother us more, not less. Our response to truth determines whether our hearts will be hardened or remain pliable and ready to have God make them after His own.”
Surely there is but one absolute (yes, absolute) answer to the condition of a hard, dark, stubborn heart: repentance. Yes, repenting of our “old man” tendencies and yielding to the Spirit of the Living God is the solution. True repentance manifests itself in a transformed life. A life that begins in the dominion of darknes, yet, is amazingly regenerated in the Kingdom of Light by the King of Light. Focus on the greatness of Christ Who can transform the hardest of hearts into one that responds obediently and cheerfully. He can do it!
Prayerfully and joyfully,