A CALLOUSED HEART CLOSED THE EARS AND BLINDED THE EYES
“They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” (Acts 28:23—28)
Even as Paul faced the possibility of imprisonment, it didn’t stop him from fully engaging in his calling. He arranged to meet with people who wanted to hear what he had to say. He witnessed to them from morning till evening. He explained to them the kingdom of God and the law of Moses and the Prophets. He tried to persuade them about Jesus.
Being in ministry is always a challenging task. Some challenges and discouragements can wear a believer down and weaken their sense of mission and ministry. Paul continues to tell the people about Jesus despite the difficulties in his life.
Many believed what Paul was saying but needed to be convinced of his message. Some people disagreed among themselves and began to leave. In ministry, we can try to persuade people and present the truth; there will be people who will be convinced and others who will not. Some are willing to hear the truth, while others have their reasoning about the truth.
Paul quoted Isaiah, saying; People will be ever hearing but never understanding. People will be ever seeing but never perceiving. Paul says that people love to hear sermons and teachings but refuse to understand them even if they are clear. People sees the miraculous changes in lives and situations that God is working on yet do not perceive. Paul points to a big problem among believers from the Prophet Isaiah’s writings. The Holy Spirit reveals to Paul that this people’s heart has become calloused. A calloused heart closes the ears and blinds the eyes.
I realized I could have a calloused heart when I refused to allow the truth of God to speak into my life. The truth can’t change me unless I am willing to soften my heart and let the truth change my perception of things. It doesn’t matter how great a bible study is; it doesn’t matter how powerful a sermon is; my own heart will be hardened when I refuse to have it change my perception of what truth is. How calloused is my heart? Calloused is heartless, unfeeling, cold, or a heart of stone, ruthless, harsh, and unsympathetic. These are a lot of characteristics of a calloused heart.
Sometimes, my heart is calloused, and I want the Holy Spirit to change me. I do. Sometimes, I can be unsympathetic. Sometimes, I have a heart of stone. I want to change. I don’t just want to hear good teachings and sermons if I am not allowing them to change my calloused heart. I want the Holy Spirit to change my perception and understanding of things he is trying to establish in me. Today, I surrender my calloused heart to the Lord so he can change it and make it a dwelling place for his truth. I do not want to be someone who has a cold and unsympathetic heart.
Jesus, change my heart. I don’t want my heart to be cold and calloused. Soften my heart to accept your truth over what I think is true. Teach me humility. Please help me guard my heart when I am confronted with things that seek to challenge your truth in me. I look to you to remove this heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh that responds, understands, perceives, and obeys your truth. Teach me today to walk in humility and submission to your will. Amen!