I have spent a lot of time on this issue because obviously this is something close to the heart of God. Warning after warning is given in His Word: “Do not harden your heart”. It’s the most passionate warning because it results in the most serious danger.
The warning is given so we don’t go down that road. Here are a few more things God wants you to know about hard-heartedness (Hebrews chapter 3).
BATTLING HARD HEARTEDNESS IS A TEAM EFFORT (v12-13)
You are never on your own in this battle. And when battling hard-heartedness, God has surrounded you with people who can help you. Did you see the “this is a group issue” mentality? Look at all the plurals:
fathers (v9), generation, they, they (v10), they (v11), brothers, any of you (v12), one another, none of you (v13), we, we (v14), all those (v16), they, those (v18), they (v19)
It is true that salvation is an individual issue, but Christians are called to be a part of a body. And part of the dynamic of being part of the body is group identity. We suffer together, we rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:26). This can be a great thing, but the danger is when the group identity is being affected by negative things, such as bitterness (Hebrews 12:15) or hard-heartedness.
So what do we do, team? Verse 13: we exhort each other every day. Encourage each other in the word. A visit, a call, a text, and e-mail, a letter, smoke signals, whatever - we encourage each other in the Word of God. This is Who God is, these are His promises, this is who you are in Christ…
Notice, today…today, over and over in this chapter. Delay only results in a harder heart!
HARD HEARTEDNESS WILL NEVER LEAD TO VICTORY (v14)
The Bible teaches that the proof of salvation is endurance - God gives us enduring faith. You want to cross the finish line strong? The only way is constant abiding in Christ.
Hard-heartedness is never on that path. Do you want proof of your salvation? Do you want proof that you are walking in victory? The answer is found not in what did you do, but what are you doing now?
HARD HEARTEDNESS HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO THINK, “THAT CAN‘T HAPPEN TO ME“ (v15-19)
The Hebrew writer hammers us with questions, five of them to be exact. What is he driving at? This is for the person that is saying, “I am a good church-goer. This hard-hearted thing can’t happen to me.”
Wrong - you are exactly the kind of person it can happen to.
These people referred to in the text, these were people that saw God work as no other group in history. Yet for all they say, they still chose not to trust God.
That can happen to you in the church. You hear the Word, you see lives changed, you witness people healed, marriages saved… and you walk away still not personally trusting God yourself. Bad place to be… the worst place to be, actually.
Ask God for a reality check today. Get humble and honest about it. Get invested in others… and allow others to invest in you. Ignoring the symptoms and denying it can even happen to you are the worst things you can do.
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.
p.s. - today, as in, NOW