When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. Matthew 13:19 (NIV).
Sadly, there are many people in this world with hard hearts. Although they may have heard God’s Word, it’s been “snatched away” (Matthew 13:19) by Satan. That’s what happened to one of my relatives. As a young man he heard the Good News about Jesus Christ. He heard about Jesus dying for the sins of the world, past, present and future. He heard about Jesus paying the ransom for our sins, how he could have forgiveness for his sins if, by faith, he turned to Jesus and asked for forgiveness. And he heard of how, having his sins forgiven, he would receive fullness of life in this life and be guaranteed eternal life beyond the grave.
Jesus sowed the seed into my relatives heart, but tragically he didn’t take it in and it came to naught when Satan snatched “away what was sown” Matthew 13:19. This is a great sorrow for me. My relative heard the truth, heard that God loved him, but didn’t grasp it. The Good News penetrated, but didn’t germinate in his heart.
My relatives calamity may be your catastrophe. You may have heard about Jesus and heard about His great love for you, but you haven’t connected with it. If so, you have a hard heart.
The reasons for a hard heart are multiple. In my relatives case it was the love of money. Instead of pursuing Christ, he chose to pursue riches. He wanted financial independence, fancy cars, a beautiful home, servants, private schools for his children, and the many other benefits of wealth. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking folk who have lots of money. I’m simply pointing out that if it’s more important for you to pay off your mortgage than to follow Christ, then Satan has used materialism to snatch away what Jesus has sown in your heart.
Satan uses other devices as well. Some folk have hardened hearts because they’ve chosen the love of a man or woman over the love of Christ. And still others have hardened hearts because they’ve chosen prestige, power or position over the love of Christ.
So is there a cure for a hard heart, or is it an irreversible condition? If Satan has snatched the Good News away, can what was taken be recovered? Thankfully there’s always hope. According to 2 Peter 3:9, God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Isn’t that remarkable? Because God is merciful, He’s the God of second chances. A hard heart can become pliable and receptive to the Good News. But this will only happen if a person is determined to open his/her eyes to see, and open his/her eyes to hear.