15 Jun 2014

Hardness of heart

The service of the Holy Communion  took place in Philadelphia church, Izhevsk, on Sunday, June 15th. The church's senior pastor Paul Zhelnovakov was preaching about a hardness of heart. «Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it», - the author of the Epistle to Hebrews says (Hebrews 4:1). The pastor gave an explanation that Hebrews had received two warnings while they were in the wilderness: firstly, they would not enter the promised land, and secondly, they would not enter the God's rest. Nowadays, living in the time of New Testament and having hope of eternal life we can see that the second warning didn't concern the land which the Hebrews headed to but it concerned the Kingdom of Heaven. God warned the Hebrews not to harden their hearts. 

Hardness of heart is a condition when a person rejects God's viewpoint as foundational one. A human fall started in the same way: devil asked Eve a question: «Did God really say...?» and brought discredit on God's words. The state of hardened heart has grown and turned to a full-bodied arrogance and selfishness. Loneliness, depressions, and distrust - these are fruit of the heart's hardness. Unfortunately, this awful condition of heart makes a person hardly admit he's wrong. «There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death» - Solomon the Wise said (Proverbs 14:12). And one more verse from the book of Proverbs: «A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel» (Proverbs 18:19). 

А hardened heart is set in contrast with a grateful one in the Bible. Once God said to Job: « Would you condemn me to justify yourself?». And we remember that the day people firstly transgressed the same thing happened: Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. 

A hardened heart is a very dangerous condition and the only defense from it is to keep yourself grateful. But how can we learn to be grateful? Psalmist Asaph says: «I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked <...> If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deep, till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny». Asaph could find comfort and become thankful only when he had entered the sanctuary of God, when he had come so close to God that started understanding His laws and loving them. 

We should remember that the only way of keeping our sanity is to defend ourselves from heart hardening coming closer to God. So let's keep our hearts thankful!



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