Paul reminds the people of their faulty thinking before Christ due to their hardened hearts.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Before coming to put their faith in Christ, the thinking of the people was futile. Not that they were unable to think but rather their thinking was lacking because it did not include spiritual knowledge that could only come from knowing Christ. This lack of knowledge was directly related to the “hardening of their hearts.” The Greek word for “hardening” is “porosis” and it means “to harden, petrify, render insensitive”. 1 “It was used of the callus that forms where the bone has been broken and re-set, a callus which is harder than the bone itself. Finally the word came to mean the loss of all power of sensation; it described something which had become so hardened, so petrified that it had no power to feel at all.”2
When we read “hardening of hearts”, I don’t think we truly understand the full meaning of the word. However, when we look at what it means in its original language and some of the commentary associated with it, we get a clearer picture. Paul was warning the people they must change the way the live. They must be aware of how easily their thinking can lead them astray.
The same is true for us today. When we allow our hearts to become hardened, we are essentially tuning out the Holy Spirit’s teaching, leading, guiding and conviction from our lives. We are choosing to live our lives the way we want to live them rather than the way the Lord wants us to live them. This hardening of heart over time will slowly petrify our hearts so we no longer have the ability to feel His presence in our lives or sense Him guiding us.
Do a quick spiritual check on yourself today. When was the last time you heard the Lord speak to you? When was the last time you felt Him leading and guiding you? Perhaps the most important question is when was the last time you felt Him convicting you? Scripture is very clear when it comes to sin.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We are all sinners. If we are no longer feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is not because we are no longer sinning. We have just become insensitive to recognizing our sin. If after doing this brief spiritual check, you realize you are beginning to experience the hardening of your heart, turn to the Lord and pray for Him to soften it so you can feel His presence once again.
Scripture from http://www.biblegateway.com
1 Greek definition from “The Key Word Study Bible”, Zondervan
2 Quote from “The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians”, the Daily Study Bible Series, William Barclay, Westminster Press
- Picture from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net