About a year ago I was struggling at work with some changes that were taking place internally within my department. Every little altercation caused immense drama in my existence. It got to the point that one day my boss meet with me to discuss work and during the course of the conversation he was going to offer me a raise. Because I was so self consumed and wallowing in self-pity we never got there, half way through our conversation I kicked him out of my office.
Needless to say, I still got the raise but it was only after a few weeks and a sincere apology. The issue was my heart. It had been misguided and left unchecked during all of the changes. During that time, I saw only what I wanted to see and built it up in my own mind. My perspective had gotten off course and I was a long way from understanding the truth from any other view point except my own.
In today's passage Paul says it is 'because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart that you are storing up wrath against yourself'. A hard and unrepentant heart accomplishes several things. First a hard heart stops spiritual perception. When we are focused on the natural realm then we are blinded to spiritual truths. In the same way that my self-pity blinded me to the truth of how the changes would help our business, focusing on the earthly things limits our perspective on kingdom things. When we are naturally focused, we are less likely to recognize spiritual truths in operation.
Secondly, a hard heart stops us from understanding spiritual truths. Not only do we not recognize them, we cannot understand them either. We can read or hear a passage of scripture but are unable to understand it because the seed cannot penetrate deep into our hearts. Our heart is conditioned not to receive it. If we are not able to perceive or understand it, then we will never be able to operate in it.
Lastly, hardness of heart keeps us from remembering spiritual truths. Jesus said "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" ( John 6:63 ) and Paul tells us that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" ( II Timothy 3:16 ). God places a huge importance on understanding His word but sadly many Christians do not know it or complain that it is too hard to understand. This is because they spend more time conditioning unbelief and shallowness in understanding then opening their hearts and minds to the Lord and His Word.
Just as I had to humble myself and seek forgiveness from my boss, if we turn and take the time to cultivate a willing heart in seeking the Lord He will be found by us. James tell us "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" ( James 4:8 ). We must first conditioning the soil of our hearts to receive His word, then believe it and lastly act upon it. When we do this, then we now longer consider facing God's judgment, because we are in tune with Him and operating in His plan. May the Lord bless you today as you consider this.