Last week I wrote about having a calloused heart. If you haven’t already done so, you can read that post here. I want to briefly follow up so that we don’t get stuck. God doesn’t just want to identify the problems in our lives. He wants to heal us. So, let’s take a look at what we can practically do if we are struggling with a calloused heart.
1) Ask God for help
If you’re not used to doing it, the idea of praying can seem very overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. God doesn’t only listen or respond when we pray for an hour or say all the right things. In fact, he already knows what we need before we ever open our mouths.
Sometimes when we’re struggling with something, it can be hard to go to God with that thing because we feel like he’s disappointed in us. That is exactly the time when we should go to God in prayer. He’s not looking for fancy words. He’s looking for a sincere heart. Sometimes I say, “God, I don’t want to be praying right now, but I need help and I know that you’re the One who can help me. Please change my heart and help me to want to be the person you’re calling me to be.”
We can all change but not on our own. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us to obey the Word of God and to turn away from our sin. Acknowledge that your heart is calloused and ask him to soften it.
2) Be intentional
When my heart has become hard, the last thing I want to do is to read the Bible. Yet, that is precisely what I need. Most of the time, I don’t even want to hear the word ‘intentional’. If we wait until we feel like spending time with the Lord again, we could be waiting for a long time. Instead, let’s recognize that we can’t afford to be led solely by our emotions. With our mind and will we can choose to go and sin no more.
When you do what you know to do, you are giving the Holy Spirit permission to change your heart. It definitely takes effort, but we can pray, give thanks and worship even when we don’t feel like it. We can choose to meditate on the Bible so that the soil of our hearts becomes supple and the seeds of God’s Word start to take root in our lives.
3) Make a change
When we’re in a rut, it’s important to take time to think about how we got there. We need to examine our lives so that we don’t keep doing the same things that caused the callouses to begin with. For example, did you recently take a high paying job to have more money, but now you feel like you are scattered and have less time for the Lord? Have you stopped attending your local Bible study, worship night or prayer group? Have you refused to forgive someone who did you wrong?
We may need to make a series of small changes to get back to where we need to be or it may take a drastic life change. Either way, we will only succeed if we are led by the Holy Spirit and make the changes he asks us to.
4) Open up
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV).
I find that when I first try to make a change, my initial desire is often drowned out by all my responsibilities and the comforts of life. That is why it is so important to make yourself accountable to someone. Sometimes we don’t want anyone to know that we are struggling in a particular area or we want to wait until we’ve overcome it to share. Do you have a pastor, teacher or believing friend that you can share with and confide in? Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to know who you can trust.
Have you been struggling with a calloused heart? What are some of the practical steps you are taking to break free?