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Hardening of the Heart

This morning I had to confess to God that I feel my heart hardening around the edges. Several Facebook posting responses started the feelings of being attacked, impatient and bristly. Perhaps I am just getting old and jaded. I’ve been a counselor and heard lots of crazy, alarming stories of human behavior. The news, Internet, Facebook, movies, and friends are brimming with unpleasant stories. But those are excuses. I recognize that I am being swept along in a cultural wave of blaming, shaming, hating, distrust, despair and anger. This hardening is something that I have a responsibility to be alert to and change my course.

God has promised that he can and will give us new, soft hearts (Ezekiel 36:26). I claimed mine years ago as I accepted Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and eternal life. In Mark 4:1-20 Jesus used a parable about sowing seed in types of soil to illustrate how people accept or reject his word. As time goes on, I fear that I am ingesting more of the world’s news and reactions, and less of God’s words. Thus I can still become that rocky or thorny heart soil. The heart edges become frosty or hardened and I start to react more harshly or numbly to people and life.

Jesus warned us about the signs of the End of the Age in Luke 21—with layers of interpretation. Verses 33, 34 (NIV) seem to speak to this time also: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” I’ve never been one known for drunkenness by alcohol. But the meanings for dissipation involve “squandering of energy.” How much energy do I devote each day to learning, growing, and loving? And, yes, I can become an anxious person as I see the nation and world in the midst of value change and chaos. Jesus warns us in verse 36: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen…”

Someone would almost have to be very sensory disabled to not understand the threat of evil in our world, on so many levels. Unfortunately, some people start to see human enemies around every corner. I Peter 5:8 suggests Satan as the very real enemy of our souls: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There is a fine line of wisdom needed between tolerating evil or labeling it. I am sure Satan delights when we attempt to devour each other in the name of some kind of righteousness or truth.

God offers us moral strength and heart conditioning for any time in which we live. Each day I have the opportunity to tap into God’s power through the indwelling Spirit by what I choose to nurture my mind and heart. I pray, “Lead me back to your word, Lord Jesus.”

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary, and lose heart” (Hebrews 12: 2-3).

Questions for personal journaling and discussion:

  1. When you read Mark 4: 1-20, can you identify your current heart soil condition?
  2. What steps do you take when you feel discouraged by culture and media?

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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