I’m pretty sure that no one wakes up and says, “I want to have a callous heart.” Nor do they say, “I want to rebel against the good that God has planned for me.” Yet, we’ve all done it. How did we get there? Can we get back?
Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Sin. We all know that we do it. Our regrets would tell us that even if we didn’t see it in the lives of those we sin against. The book of Romans was given by God to tell us 2 things about that sin. First, it tells us the reality of sin. Second, it tells us how to be set free from sin. In Romans chapter 1 the Apostle Paul identifies a progression for us. Notice how it progresses: not honoring God as God, guessing about life and what is good, and then the heart grows dark. From there, Paul describes all the foolish and hurtful things we do in that situation. Ouch! So, we start ignoring God’s instructions (not honoring God as God). Then we start acting as if good and evil are up to interpretation or debate (futile speculations). Finally, once we start justifying our actions with futile speculations our hearts close down. That is the process that turns incidental sinning and mistakes in hard-hearted rebellion.
That’s what happens to us if we follow the habits of sin. Consider God’s prophet Jonah. You would think that a prophet of God would be immune from such habits, wouldn’t you? However, we see Jonah rebelling against God’s plan for his life. He runs. He is persuaded (by a giant fish!) to obey God outwardly. However, we see that his heart is still hard to the heart of God by his response to the success of his preaching. The city repents, and he is angry that God will forgive! In fact, he tells God that the work of God in the hearts of the people is EXACTLY why he ran away. He still doesn’t want God to do what God has promised to do! That is a hard heart.
How can we avoid going down the same path? How can we avoid being called a child of God and yet act like His enemy? Consider which of these (if not all) of these habits we might need to apply to our lives.
1) Don’t trust your feelings to follow God. Trust His Word to reveal who you should be.
2) Seek to know and embrace God’s character and not just some rules to live by. Knowing God is about knowing who He is (what He is like, what He values) rather than knowing about Him (His attributes, His rules)
3) Make your chief joy about knowing and serving Him rather than serving or pleasing yourself.
Something to think about,