My wife and I are in a place this week where hard hearts are the norm. As we spend a week together in a different world it's clear that most people I meet (including me!) deal with hard hearts at one level or another.
Job wrote, “His heart is as hard as a stone, Even as hard as a lower millstone." I think he was talking about me. But being aware of my own heart and relationship with God I see it more clearly in others. There is a hardening that must happen if we are to choose sin....especially if we are Christians! The Holy Spirit will convict the Christian regarding sin and the only way we can choose the sin over obedience is to harden our hearts to God's voice, his conviction, his wooing of us. And so we drag around this hard, cold heart that feels nothing for God or for anyone else.
Those in the world have a much easier time with the hard heart. It's honestly their normal heart....hard to God, hard to conviction, hard to anything but what they want. Sin's not a problem for a lost man because his hard heart has made it his normal way of life.
In a number of places in the bible is this phrase, "Do not harden your hearts..." Clearly it's a choice we make and one that we have a decision about. It happens when we come to a decision of sin or obedience. A choice between doing what we know is God's will and what we want to do. At that point of decision something happens....we either obey God and walk with him or we have to harden our hearts to be able to disobey and sin.
The biggest problem in my life and I know in yours is the temptation and willingness to harden our hearts to God. Hard hearts are miserable for the Christian, normal for the lost man, but never God's desire and so he invites us to this response....
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart." Today, as you face the choices to obey or sin know that a hard heart has lingering consequences...it very difficult to break up that hardened heart once it's set, so in the choices you face make the decision now to respond in this way, "Yes Lord, I will do as you ask."
You will find it's a much better way to live than to deal with a hard heart.