"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." — Ezekiel 36:26-27
Our heart and how we deal with it play a significant role on how we live out our lives for Christ. It's from our heart that all things that we do flow from and where we process all things that come in. Thus, it's important that our heart is in right standing with God and protected from the hardening caused by sin.
God's Word warns us against the hardening of the heart, which causes us to become insensitive to the move of God and show compassion for others. God promises to give us a "heart of flesh" when His Holy Spirit comes into us.
What signs should we look out for to tell us that we need God's Spirit to come and soften our heart? Here are seven signs to look out for.
Jeremiah 18:12 says, "But they will say, 'It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart." When we start feeling hopeless too often, it could be a sign that sin has hardened our hearts.
When our heart becomes stone and we stop feeling God's affirmation, worry and anxiety start to creep in. We lose our faith and trust in God because we can no longer feel His goodness and love even though it's so evidently there.
3. Insensitivity Towards Others
Isaiah 6:10 tells us, "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed." A heart of flesh will remain sensitive and compassionate for other people, but a hardened heart looks only to self-interests.
4. Dry Devotional Time
Have you ever tried reading your Bible and praying over and over but you just can't seem to get refreshed? Chances are your heart needs first to be transformed by God's touch.
5. Unhealthy Fear
With a lack of God's prompting and voice, we might start losing our assurance in Him and start acting in unhealthy and ungodly fear instead of confidence.
6. Sinful Patterns
With an absence of a sensitivity towards God, we start walking in ways He would not have us walk as sinful patterns start to come into place. While we all struggle with sin, we can sometimes get too entangled in it that prevents us doing the right thing. This is a sign that our hearts have indeed been hardened by sin.
Jeremiah 16:12 says, "You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me." A heart of flesh will walk in obedience to the lordship of Jesus, but a hardened heart would rather have its own way.