Do you have a hardened heart?
Ezekiel 36:26 moreover I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh do you have a heart of stone? what does that mean? I remember years and years ago reading that scripture and wondering Lord what is a heart of stone? what does it mean? as I meditated on that thought about that listened to some teaching about hardened heart I realized there were certain areas of my heart that are hardened the problem with having a hardened heart is many times you don’t realize it you don’t know it it’s sort of hidden from you I want to talk about some of the symptoms today of a hardened heart what is a hardened heart? first of all a hardened heart is just a set of defense mechanisms I learn to put in place to defend me and protect me when I get hurt most people begin to harden their heart when they’re little children they get abused they get wounded they get offended, they get hurt and what many of them do is learn to harden their heart instead of running to the Lord and releasing the offense receiving His forgiveness being able to forgive others what many people do is harden their heart that means they put a set of defense mechanisms in place to protect self against other people I wrote down some of the symptoms of a hardened heart many times people that have a hidden hardened heart they don’t know they have it they’re bold, outgoing gifted, intelligent service oriented a lot of times pastors doctors counselors people that are serving can easily have a hardened heart they love to serve other people but they don’t let anybody touch their heart there’s a great inability to receive so a person with a heart of stone is a much better giver than receiver they’ll give you the shirt off their back but they find it very difficult to receive as a matter of fact if you try to give a birthday party a surprise birthday party for a person with a heart of stone they’ll be angry at you they’ll be mad because you basically created an emotional debt the person with the hardened heart has to pay everybody back for everything they do they never can be indebted to anyone so they have a much greater ability to receive than to give many times are very talented and gifted a lot of times there’s a secret besetting sin that torments the person with a hidden hardened heart and they can’t get rid of it and they’re afraid to tell anybody they usually need to be in control small groups are really scary unless they can run the small group then they get to ask all the questions and direct everything but it’s very difficult to be just a part of a small group this person with a hardened heart or a heart of stone needs to be right they need to know everything they have a great concern that things be done correctly and they manifest anger and frustration when anything isn’t the way it’s supposed to be when people mess up they do something wrong and they condemn and judge themselves as well when they mess up or do anything wrong many times they’ll interpret rejection as correction there’s usually a fight or flight mechanism that takes place immediately when they’re rebuked if anybody tries to rebuke them they’ll run or they’ll rise up and confront and fight when things don’t go their way this person many times becomes a noble martyr well it’s just my lot in life it’s just… nothing I can do about it very difficult to ever be in a position of need or dependence on anyone so the person with a heart of stone hardened heart has to be self reliant always taking care of self never in a position of need dependent on anyone very strong focus on doing if you try to confront them they’ll say just give me the five steps what do you want me to do and of course the issue is we don’t want you to DO anything we want you to BE we want you to open your heart and let God love you and they’ll respond don’t invade my heart don’t touch on the inside just tell me what you want me to do and usually there’s a very strong fusion of identity with behavior on the inside meaning, they are what they do if they mess up they’re worthless if they do something great they’re awesome and that’s how it works on the inside that is the set of defense mechanisms that sort of define and characterize this hidden heart of stone what do you do? get some help get some teaching we have lots of resources on the heart softening the hardened heart many other ministries do as well become a part of a small group open your heart become vulnerable to people and press into God and let him soften that hardened heart let me just pray for you today Father I pray for every one of us but especially those of us that have been touched by this very passage Lord and we recognize I have a hardened heart, a heart of stone God would you soften the heart of each one watching today who relates to these symptoms Father would you soften the heart would you begin to wash over it and Father I thank you you don’t condemn us you don’t judge us you’re not angry with us Lord you just want to help us not to have to defend ourselves and keep that wall in place to protect Father would you just tear down the wall and open the door for us to trust you and to open to other people in the mighty name of Yeshua Amen