News and Articles
7 September 2019
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.
In these verses Paul is talking about Gentiles as a contrast with how the Christians were called to live. What I find particularly enlightening is the explanation of why the Gentiles do not believe, Paul says it is ‘due to the hardening of their hearts.’ The fact that they have hardened their hearts means that they ignorant of the ways of God – they do not see them, don’t feel them, don’t experience them. They are closed to God.
The individual word ‘hardening’ suggests a progressive action – meaning the Gentiles Paul is writing about are becoming increasingly hardened. Sounds like bad news, and it is – but the good news is that the converse is also true. That is, as we open ourselves up to God it’s possible for the ongoing softening of our hearts and an ever increasing experience of God. That the more we open ourselves up to Him, the more He can and will change us to be like Jesus.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
Not only do we want to go deeper with God, but we are also keen to go deeper with one another, being more real with each other in the day to day, and supporting one another and encouraging each other in the good and the tough.
Let’s ask ourselves the following questions today:
- Am I becoming more hardened or becoming more open to God?
- How easy do I find it to trust others?
- Am I open to the Holy Spirit and comfortable to follow His leading?
Let’s be praying that God would:
- Increase our trust in Him and willingness to be open with others
- Bring healing to our hearts where we have experienced pain
- That we would be increasingly open to God’s leading as a congregation
These verses and our devotions this week are hopefully reminding us that a key barrier to our faith in God and ability to walk faithfully, is the state of our hearts - whether they are open or closed, divided or undivided, soft or hard, narrow or expansive, generous or reluctant, courageous or timid. We truly need God to do His work on the inside of us.
If we are to see God realise the vision we believe He is calling us too, and we are to go deeper with Him and others and reach wider in mission we need a change on the inside of us.
If you’d like someone to pray with you about some of these things, then please do make use of the Prayer Team on Sundays or talk to one of the Pastoral Care team about the upcoming Journey to Wholeness weekend.