Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as “the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity,” “the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will,” and “the center of a person. The place to which God turns.”*
The authenticity of a person is often a reflection of their heart. A person can have a sincere heart for God, or can possess a heart of stone. A heart of stone is the hardness that we read about in Scripture, especially the example of the Pharoah in the book of Exodus. A serious condition of hard-heartedness is the desire remain disobedient to God and to commit ongoing evil acts. This is a very dangerous condition in that God will allow men to do the very thing that their heart desires when evil is at the forefront…commit more evil. Paul noted in Romans 1:24-28:
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual intercourse for what is unnatural. The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their perversion. And because they did not think it worthwhile to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.
God allows this by withdrawing His restraint, which gives for greater hardening of the heart against Him. As a result, God does not cause men to sin, nor does He make them behave badly. Rather, He simply lets them harden themselves as a punishment for their wickedness.
God will harden the hearts of those who choose not to follow Him in order to reveal His glory.
The LORD instructed Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do in front of Pharaoh all the wonders I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart so that he won’t let the people go.
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.
I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this.
The hardened heart leads to potential ruin, and God’s sovereignty is prevalent. Thankfully, a person who sincerely seeks the Lord will no longer be repelled from Him.
Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.
2 Corinthians 3:15-18
However, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The lack of reverence for God through Jesus Christ can lead to a hardened heart. True worship begins with reverence and respect for who God is in your life.
But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
*J. Stowell, Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 13.