What are the characteristics of a hardened heart? Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees and Sadducees had so much unbelief? The Pharisees would witness Jesus perform miracles such as opening the eyes of the blind, but yet they would still have their doubts about Christ. In fact they would plan how they might kill Jesus. Why would they plan to kill such a Person who was doing so much good?
Hebrews 3:12 NKJV
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God
A heart that is not after God or the things of God can be a very dangerous thing. Such a heart becomes stubborn, hardened and filled with unbelief. We always need to guard our hearts to ensure that we are teachable in relation to the things of the Lord.
One of the primary ways of telling if somebody’s heart is hardened is through the following:
1. Are they open and teachable in relation to the TRUTH of God’s word
2. Are they ONLY focused on their OWN opinion which is NOT founded on God’s word
3. Are they REPENTANT; do they seek God’s love and forgiveness
4. Do they desire to rely only on themselves or anything that is not God related
5. Do they change their thinking even when God performs a miracle
6. Are they deceived by sin; Do they continue to pursue the SAME wrong choices
The Pharisees were so set in their way of thinking that they were not open to the teachings of Christ. The Pharisees were so stubborn and they had hardened their heart so much that their false belief about Christ did not change even when they witnessed Jesus perform miracles before their eyes. They were imprisoned by unbelief.
God has given us FREE WILL. God has given us the free gift of CHOICE. We have the CHOICE to believe whatever we want to believe.
However, just because we are free to believe, it does NOT mean that what we choose to believe is always correct, because there are many people in the world who believe the wrong things. God wants us to ONLY choose to believe Him and His Word.
So if somebody has a HARDENED HEART, how do they get out of the imprisonment of unbelief? The truth is they have to get out of that imprisonment of unbelief by themselves. But also they must ACKNOWLEDGE that GOD CAN HELP THEM with their unbelief.
Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
The father whose child was demon possessed clearly had his doubts, but he was willing to be taught and helped by Jesus regarding his personal doubts. He CHOSE to believe. This father had made a choice to want to get out of any imprisonment of unbelief that he had in order to see his son become free of the demon. This father’s faith was as small as a mustard seed, but it was enough for Jesus to act for him because he CHOSE to believe JESUS and NOT remain with an unbelieving, hardened heart.
Hebrews 3:15 NKJV
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”