Continuing the interview with Kathi Macias, author of the new book Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World (New Hope, 2008):
On page 90 you wrote, “A Christian stubbornly resisting the Spirit’s leading is vulnerable to the devil’s attacks and cannot fulfill the greatest commandments of all, the commandments that encompass ‘all the Law and the Prophets’: to love God will all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Such a Christian is in rebellion, and apart from repentance, her heart will continue to grow harder and harder until the voice of God grows too faint to be discerned amidst the deafening noise of countless other voices vying for our attention.”
On my June 30, 2008, blog, I wrote about a “seared conscience,” meaning repeated sin can damage that part of us that is sensitive to sin until it becomes insensitive—we just don’t feel it’s wrong any more. Is that basically what you’re saying here? What does a person need to do to cause his or her hard heart or seared conscience to become sensitive to God once again?
KM: That is absolutely what I’m saying, yes! A hard heart will block out the voice of God. I remember, when I was doing biblical counseling on a church staff some years ago, that I was often told by people who came in to see me that they just couldn’t hear from God. They insisted that they prayed and listened for an answer, but nothing came—thus implying that they weren’t at fault but God was.
In digging a bit deeper we soon discovered that in each of these cases, the person had already decided what he wanted to do (or not do) before praying about the issue and was therefore blocking out God’s answer because they were afraid it might be different from the one they wanted to hear. That’s an example of having a hard heart toward God—thinking that we know better than He what is good for us and therefore want to be in charge of calling the shots and then asking God to bless our decisions. It doesn’t work that way.
As for hardening our hearts and continuing in sin, we ALWAYS know God is warning us early in the process when we are considering sin as a choice, but when we make the choice to move ahead in that sin, we have also chosen to ignore God. With each such choice, our heart grows harder and His voice fades a bit more. It’s a dangerous place to be. If we know someone in that sort of situation, we need to pray for God to send the gift of repentance, even if it means that person’s hard heart must be broken. Better a broken heart on earth than a lost soul in eternity.