Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take heed, 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 To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Every single human being has potentially cancerous cells already in them (https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2018/04/18/science-surgery-do-we-all-have-potentially-cancerous-cells-in-our-bodies/). It becomes a matter of these cells becoming activated for cancer to grow. Knowing that we all have the potential, is a bit unsettling.
We all have the potential to sin. It is in our spiritual DNA. We received from Adam, our sin nature. A propensity to sin. When presented with the opportunity, we want it. Jeremiah describes this dilemma.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Man’s heart is the most deceitful thing above all others.
It is desperately wicked, frail, feeble, and not to be trusted. The knowledge of the workings of my deceitful, desperately evil heart cannot be known to anyone but God. Knowing my heart’s state, I cannot, nor should not trust what things run through my mind, prick my heart, or move me significantly unless it lines up with the Word of God.
We justify our behavior by telling ourselves that our sin isn’t hurting anyone but us. Yet, that moment we open the door, we begin to be entangled in chains that only the blood of Jesus has the power to break.
So, how do I know when my heart is getting hard?
Keeping short accounts with God allows me to have my finger on the pulse of my relationship with Him. Regularly having a “confession session” means I am routinely examining my standing with God and interacting with the Holy Spirit.
It means being open to the Spirit’s leading. If I have not been convicted recently, I need to ask God to intervene and show me where I am wrong, where I’ve failed Him, or others.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We are often reminded to pray this portion of scripture, but do we wait for the answer? What if there is a long pause? What if we don’t hear anything? I often ask myself, “How badly do I want to be right with God? Am I willing to wait on God for the answers that would keep me close to Him?”
The hard part is when our desire has been depleted or non-existent.
What are we to do then?
I find that I return to passages of scripture that I know have affected my heart in the past.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (actually, the whole Psalm!)
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
These are just a sample of some of the verses I use to comfort and encourage my heart.
The real issue is to keep our hearts from getting so hard we cannot feel the presence of God or hear the voice of God. The writer of Hebrews tells us:
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
So often, throughout scripture, we are told to pray, seek, meditate, praise, and worship daily.
Psalm 55:17 “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”
Psalm 61:8 “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
Psalm 86:3 “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.“
It is a purposeful activity that we must not neglect.
As we start our week, may it be that we invite God to prick our hearts with the sin we’ve committed, the needs of others, and a unique awareness of His presence throughout our day!