The believer’s path toward a hardened heart can start innocently enough—it’s easy for us to become preoccupied with things that have little or no spiritual value. Once our focus is diverted from God, it doesn’t take much for the preoccupation to take up greater amounts of time. The diversion can become so consuming that we end up ignoring matters of importance to the Lord.
As our spiritual life withers, we may give up private devotion and public worship. Anyone who is spending time with the Lord daily is going to have a pliable heart, but the person who lays Scripture aside gives Satan an opportunity. When allowed to function apart from God, the heart is deceitful and turns from Him.
If a believer’s mind is preoccupied and his heart is distant from God, he can easily be swayed by the deceitfulness of sin. As sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is dulled by a hard “shell” that’s been forming around his heart, the drifting Christian begins to find Satan’s false promises more tempting. He foolishly trusts in the deception and becomes ever more deeply enmeshed in sin. This, in turn, leads to even greater preoccupation with non-spiritual matters and further neglect of his spiritual life.
Believers are not immune to hardening of the heart. We can become as insensitive to God’s voice as an unbeliever, but we have a way to remove the spiritual callus that has been forming within us. By repenting and refocusing, we can again turn to devotion and worship in order to be soft-hearted before God.