Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
What does it mean to have a hard heart? To be insensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit within your life? This portion of scripture talks about how God’s people hardened their heart when they were in the wilderness. Because they were afraid to move forward in the direction He was leading them, they refused to go and as a result, they remained in a place of testing and trials for forty years.
I have had my share of wilderness experiences and although they were not all because of my hard heart, mostly, I just spent too much time holding back the power of God in my life. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Many times, in my life I would sense a nudging in a certain direction, but I would say “I don’t want to do that” or “No, that’s not for me.” There were various reasons I responded this way like: I was afraid, or I didn’t want to exert the energy to do it. Mostly, I didn’t even realize it was the Holy Spirit prompting me. I just thought it was a random idea that I really wasn’t interested in.
After many years of living life by the rule of “I don’t want to that”, I began to recognize that these promptings were coming from the greater One inside me and my response should be. “Father, I’m not sure if I can do that, but if that is the direction you want me to go, I’m going to trust you to put my desire there and give me the strength and faith to begin to head in that direction. This is the same response the Israelites could have given and God would have led them step by step to their promised land. In the same way that God was trying to get His greatest blessings to His people back in Moses’ day, He is always guiding you and me to where His blessings and empowerment are. But because of a hard heart or not recognizing His promptings, we miss out on all that God has for us.
Today’s verse says to exhort and encourage each other daily. Speak the Word and plans of God to your friends and family members to remind each other not to let your heart grow hard. It is so easy to become distracted by the pressures of life and the issues of today’s world. You can begin to wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” The truth is He is right where He has always been, leading and directing your life by the Holy Spirit on the inside of you. However, it is up to you to seek the faith and power to follow His direction and keep your heart from growing hard.
Today I want to encourage you to press into God your Father and turn over any hard areas of your heart to Him. Become aware of hidden and secret places you may be keeping in the dark and allow Him to reveal any areas you are holding back. Use the phrases “I don’t want to” or “I don’t feel like it” to alert you when you are rejecting the Holy Spirit’s direction inside of you. Submit all your ways to Him and offer your life as a living sacrifice to do your part in His plan. Get out of any wilderness you may have found yourself stuck in by surrendering all to Him today.
Today’s scripture reading: Hebrews 3:7-15
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”