I have hardened my heart many times when I heard God's voice. Why? Because I didn't like what He was asking of me! The first time I can remember doing this, I was barely walking with Him. It was when I was dating "my dream guy" back in 2005. I had just started Bible college and Jesus was calling out my name to rescue me from my ignorant and selfish life. At the same time, I was praying that He would change the guy I was dating so that we could be honorable to God and live happily ever after. There was something in me that knew he wasn't the guy for me- the guy that God had planned for me- the best for me. But I kept fighting those thoughts and continued to pray anyway. I was blessed by God when He spoke so loudly in my life about this guy, that He may as well have hit me over the head with a bat. I knew at that moment that God spoke, and this time I listened- I called the guy and broke up with him. I had 7 years invested in that relationship- but God knew what was best. I met Joey (my husband) two weeks after that break-up.
I also remember when I was trying to quit drinking. I loved to drink- socially. I am not talking about the love to get drunk and do stupid stuff- although that was also me prior to this case. But I did love wine, beer, vodka and the casual martini or margarita. God asked me over and over and over again to stop drinking. At the time, I didn't know why. But I realized finally that it was because I enjoyed it too much, and unintentionally abused it. By that I mean, I liked to have a glass of wine daily. There were times when I intentionally abused it too- that was when I drank too much. I understood why God would ask me to stop getting drunk- it was Biblical. I struggled the most when God asked me to give it up when I wasn't getting drunk. Having a glass of wine a day wasn't sin...right? For me, it was. I not only enjoyed the taste- and my oh my- was it a good taste- but I liked how my confidence was built after having even one glass. I wasn't drunk, I wasn't even buzzed, I was just at ease. The stress of the day was gone, my body was relaxed, my personality was cheerful- even fun- maybe a bit sassy. But the confidence in myself heightened- even before I took a sip. As soon as my hand was wrapped around the glass- I had no insecurities.
God asked me to stop drinking numerous times, and I hardened my heart to Him repeatedly, because I didn't see anything wrong with what I was doing, and I questioned His purpose for asking me to quit. At the time, I didn't see it as a problem- I just enjoyed a drink. But looking back I can really see the danger of it for me. And I am so glad that the Holy Spirit didn't leave me alone- I am glad He kept nagging me to stop. I have been alcohol free since October 13, 2009.
Even though I didn't understand His reasoning in either case, I listened- eventually. But think of the sin I committed in the stubbornness of my heart. Did I miss anything? What if I hadn't obeyed- I would have missed out on meeting the man God intended for me to spend my life on earth with. I may have even had a dysfunctional marriage with a man that wasn't best suited for me. My life would be completely different. And it was because of one act of obedience. If I hadn't listened to God when He asked me to stop drinking, I may have still had a drinking issue. If so, I definitely wouldn't be where I am spiritually, as sin separates us from God. Also, over the 3 years or so of God asking me to quit, I made some very heavy mistakes- aka, sins. One in particular was the addiction I had with pornography. If I had listened when God first spoke, I probably would have avoided all of it.
The Israelites did not enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. Did I believe that God had a better man for me? Not really- because I thought I knew what was good for me, and at the time, I was blinded by sin, and what I thought was true love. Did I believe that God was asking of me something ridiculous when He asked me to find my confidence in Him rather than in a glass of wine? Absolutely.
Be a person that believes God's best is best, no matter what He asks of you, no matter how much sense it makes, and no matter the severity of it. Trust Him, believe Him and obey Him.
TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS!