One of the worst things a person can do is harden their heart toward God. The consequences of such obstinacy are devastating. This is why the author of Hebrews wrote, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)
The word “rebellion” may bring to mind a child or teenager rebelling against parents. But adults often rebel just as much as young people. In fact, this unruly behavior tends to spring up quite easily within human nature, regardless of age.
With that in mind, check out these 7 consequences of man hardening his heart toward God:
1. You feel extremely “rushed” and “driven.”
It’s one thing to persistently pursue godly goals with a calm heart. It’s quite another to constantly feel “driven” to make everything come together all by yourself. God is the author of peace, while sin and hardheartedness produce restlessness and ungodly energy. Many people race through life with tons of this “energy,” but they never get connected to God’s power.
Whenever man blocks God from his heart and his goals, it produces an “edge” to man’s work, but not the right kind of focused fortitude. Without Christ at the center of your life, you are bound to eventually spin out of control. Jesus isn’t called the “Prince of Peace” for nothing. But one must meet Christ and walk with Him in order to receive His peace.
2. Paranoia becomes a frequent guest.
Paranoia is one of the plagues of an empty soul. And it stems from worrying about results rather than allowing your heart to rest in God’s plan for your life. All of us are prone to paranoia, and only the strength of the Savior can smooth out our obsessive tendencies and fears. By hardening your heart toward God, you actually invite paranoia into the “home” of your soul. And this is one guest who doesn’t know when to leave.
Some people who have hardened their heart toward God are constantly irritable. But the Lord can fix man’s heart condition.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
The peace of Christ is the solution to the nagging problem of paranoia. In fact, God’s peace “surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
3. Anger seems to rise up quite easily in your heart.
Anger is like “restlessness on steroids.” This inner turmoil and rustling rage is unsettling. The next time you burn with anger, examine whether your heart is open to having Christ help you with your anger issues. An open heart to the Messiah is the pathway to replacing anger with calmness. The love of God can reach anyone who is open to having Jesus change their heart.
4. You live “in the flesh” rather than “in the Spirit.”
Every Christian faces an inner battle against “the flesh.”
The apostle Paul described it this way: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” (Galatians 5:16-18)
By walking closely with Christ every hour, we are able to walk “in the Spirit” rather than “in the flesh.” This is the only way to flow in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” (John 6:63)
5. Daily decisions are made without turning to God’s Word for guidance.
Whenever man hardens his heart toward God, he mistakenly assumes that he can trust his own understanding. Rather than turning to God’s Word for insight, man charges ahead under the impression that he is capable of charting a successful course for his life. Such blindness is the default position of man’s soul, and only the grace of God and the truth of Scripture can open man’s eyes to see his dilemma. God’s Word leads man to discern the waywardness of human reason, as well as the beauty of divine inspiration.
6. You have no hunger or thirst for spiritual food and drink.
A closed heart to God always leaves a person without any hunger for “the bread of life” (John 6:35) or any thirst for God’s “living water.” (John 4:10)
The Psalmist had the opposite experience: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1)
And the prophet Jeremiah experienced this hunger and thirst centuries ago: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.” (Jeremiah 15:16)
This phenomenon is still being experienced by millions of God’s children today.
7. Your life is void of godly wisdom.
No one is born with godly wisdom. This is one reason Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7)
The new birth brings with it an impartation of godly wisdom. St. John wrote, “The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit, just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” (1 John 2:27)
An open heart toward Christ is the path to godly wisdom. And the opposite of an open heart is a hard heart.
If you are experiencing any or all of these 7 consequences of a hard heart toward God, there is only one remedy. “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8)
As the Lord told His people through the prophet Ezekiel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you …. I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
And it all begins when you repent of your sin and call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. (Romans 10:13)
So do you have the heart for it? If so, go ahead and take the Lord up on His offer. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)
By Dan Delzell