Bible Study

Importance Of Today – Harden Not Your Hearts

harden not your hearts
Written by Ivan Sutton


You have heard it said that if it was too late for you, that you would not even be able to be concerned about your salvation.  The fact that you feel “called”, means that today, it is not too late.

If this is true, then if you do not sense your closeness to God, could this mean that you are lost?

John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Because God draws you through the inner working of His Spirit, you cannot even desire to do His will without the Spirit.

Consider these verses.  God contrasts for us what doing His will entails.  In some verses we see a contrast between God’s people and they way they live and those that reject God:

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

Galatians 5:19-22, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

1 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

I was considering the story of the 12 virgins.  How they would not have been there at all if they were incapable of doing God’s will. That day, they would not have responded to the Spirit to go meet the bridegroom.  But they were there.  In the right place at the right time.  But their relationship to God was not sufficient.

A man one day made a decision to start his day with Bible study and he also decided to read the daily devotionals on Amazing Facts.  So each morning he rose up a bit early and went to a solitary place in his home and prayed and did his morning worship.  He also decided that he wold continue his nighttime worship before bed.  He set in his mind that this he would try to form a habit of morning and nighttime study because he recognized his need to be closer to God.  After a few days he noticed his thoughts were more on God during the day.  He even decided to start a Bible study group online.  One day, he had a conversation with a someone close to him which quickly became a dispute.  Within minutes he went from having a respectful dispute to yelling and cursing and tossing things about.  The next day, he came to himself and realized that he too had little oil in his lamp.  

The mechanics of Christianity does not create a relationship with God.  The great news is that God wants to help us with this.

Matthew 7:21-23, ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

In the passage of Scripture above we see lost people who believed they were doing some good, prophesying, doing many miracles and driving out demons.  This is work of people that thought they had a relationship with God but He didn’t know them.

It is hard to imagine that a person can hear God speaking to them through the pleading of the Holy Spirit and ignore it.  But it is true that some pick and choose what they will follow, what sin they will continue to indulge, and where they will harden their hearts.  Often we believe we take a calculated risk, believing that we have time left to get right with God.

Hebrews 3:12-15, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.””

Sin is a killer.  When we choose to sin we become obedient to sin.  The enemy knows us well and knows the precise time to tempt us to sin and we often easily fall.  In those moments we forget the great controversy between God and Satan.   We forget that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.  Then in verse 13, it says that we must put on the whole armor of God so we can stand.  

I truly appreciate this verse in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

God loves us in powerful ways.  Because of His love for us, He makes a way of escape for us every time we are faced with temptation to sin.  

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

When we choose to ignore the way God has made for us and choose to sin, we move our loyalty from God to the enemy.  Each time, we believe in our hearts we have time to make it right.  But to knowingly sin is to knowingly deceive ourselves.

So today, if you are tempted to sin and you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.  Today, we may still struggle with sin, but make a decision to turn from continual submission to sin and continue in obedience to God who has already made a way of escape so that you can endure it.

The road to sanctification is a road filled with choices.  Today, choose God who sanctifies you.  The process of continual obedience and dependence on God, trusting Him for everything and not on your own understanding will ultimately lead to a certain recognition that God loves you very much and wants to save you from the consequences of sin.  Jesus died after living a life of example for us so that we can live forever with Him, but also so that we can look at Him as the friend that has gone before us that now guides the way.  All we must do is follow.

About the author

Ivan Sutton

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