Can My Hardened Heart Be Fixed?

Question from a Site Viewer
I just read with great interest your article In What Sense Does a God of Love Harden Hearts? and I feel compelled to seek your council as this pertains to my own hardened heart. First a bit of background information is necessary.

I received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior a little over 20 years ago. But since then, I have made many poor decisions in my life and I have hardened my heart against God greatly. I am now trying to get out of this hardened condition having realized my error in doing this. What happened to me was because of my pride, not because of anything He did or failed to do.

Can my heart recover from being hardened? I find myself trying to repent, but I find that I am still hardened in heart even though I try to repent of it. Basically, it’s a hardened heart trying to repent of being a hardened heart. God places upon me the responsibility of not hardening my heart. I have failed this responsibility and did exactly what He warns us not to do. I know now that I was wrong to do this and that God didn’t trick me and isn’t trying to hurt me with some diabolical plan to victimize me. But that still leaves me with my hardened heart and spirit. Can I recover from this? I have offered prayers of repentance, but I feel like those prayers are self-generated rather than a response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Does this mean that the Holy Spirit has stopped convicting me of sins? If so, does that mean I have lost my salvation due to the Holy Spirit no longer maintaining a presence in my heart? If this is the case, please be brutally honest with me and just tell me the truth of it.

Tim’s Answer
I agonize with you in your struggle. You state that you hardened your heart against God and now you find that your heart is no longer tender towards God as you would like it to be. You wonder if you can recover from this.

I can readily answer your question with “yes, you can recover.” Scripture is clear that the God of mercy is in the business of transforming hearts. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they would turn to Him (Ezekiel 18:19-32; 33:11). If we return, then He will bring us back (Jeremiah 15:19; Hosea 14:1-4). The prodigal son is the great story of this redemption in Luke 15. But it is by no means an aberration of Scriptural teaching on the subject. The God we serve wants us to turn sinners from their ways and cover over their sins (James 5:19-20). I continue to believe that the greatest, but by far not the only, example of this is King Manasseh. Manasseh was the son of good King Hezekiah. He knew what was right. He deliberately turned against God and did more evil than any king before him. But we find in 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 that when he sought the Lord, the Lord heard him and brought him back. The grace of God for sinners flows from the heart of God. If we confess (say the same thing as God says) about our sins, He considers it to be a matter of faithfulness and justice to extend forgiveness to us and to restore us back (1 John 1:9).

The problem then is not in a God who no longer wants to have fellowship with us. Rather, the problem is within us. When we have hardened our hearts against God, and we realize that we are in a mess, we find ourselves in a dilemma. We may know that our only hope is to seek God, but our hearts are persistent in trying to keep us at a distance from God.

I want to encourage you on this truth. The heart is malleable. It can be transformed. Such transformation does not come easy. G. K. Chesterton, an English writer, once stated: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” When our minds and hearts have been trained in bad thinking, it takes time and effort to transform them into kingdom thinking. Many simply do not make the effort to do the works fitting for repentance. And they fall away, like the seed sown among the thorns. But like a paralyzed person beginning to learn to walk again, those who persevere in turning to God on a daily basis, memorizing His word, beseeching Him, and seeking to bless God and others; in little steps those persons will find their hearts drawn into the heart of God.

I have a friend who has a young child. When born, the child can do nothing. Day after day, the child kicks his legs and waves his arms, seemingly in futility. But it is not futility. These activities that seem futile are actually strengthening the muscles, sending messages to the brain, wiring the brain for more action that ultimately lead to some coordination. The arms and legs begin to work in concert. Then the day comes when the child is able to raise himself up. After more days, the child is able to turn himself over. First, it seems almost an accident, but the arms and legs did it, and will do it again and again. Eventually,t he child can stand, walk, and run. It must seem to the child to be an eternity to accomplish these things. But the persistence of kicking one’s legs and flailing with the arms ultimately leads to the ability to walk and run.

So it is with our spiritual lives. When we have lived away from God for some time, we come back and we find that we are like that little child flailing with our spiritual arms and kicking with our spiritual feet, seemingly making no progress towards God. Our spiritual life seems uncoordinated, disjointed, and without a heart for God. But it is in our constant beseeching God to root the sin from us and create within us a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) that we will find, step by step, our lives being transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1-2) into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). God is for us on this journey. And the Spirit will return to be the vital partner in our journey in real and tangible ways. But it always is a journey.

I encourage you to not give up on your pursuit after God. You might find helpful these 10 suggestions. Ultimately, we do not want to gain the world and lose our souls. It seems that you have reached this conclusion. I only encourage you now to be persistent in pursuing God. If you do so, you will find that after a few months of diligently seeking after Him, your mind will begin to think in ways of newly found purity and delight and your fellowship with God will become increasingly sweet.

May you come to know the joy of the forgiveness and removal of sins and of a right relationship with our dear Savior.

with my prayers,

tim

45 thoughts on “Can My Hardened Heart Be Fixed?

  1. Pam Goodrich

    I need to know a few things. i was diagnosed with some mental conditions including by poler. This condition has taken over my life for a very long time. It steals your happiness, ruines your relationships, and takes away your freedom’ and many many times takes away your will to live. I have seven suicde attempts’ and as i write this i have all my meds in front of me waiting for me to take action. I was saved in my teens, and rededicated a few months ago i cant seem to find my lord anywhere. the harder i try the more distent he seems, and when i try to do good things i do more bad then good. can this mean my heart has been hardened. things get worse every day right now im in this deep depression everything is black i just want to die. is there any hope fpr me im so tired and ready to give up any advice would be helpful

    Reply
    1. truthsaves Post author

      Having a bipolar condition does not render one unable to serve Christ and to enjoy fellowship with Him. However, a bipolar condition does present challenges. Being under the care of a good doctor is very important. Faithfully taking prescribed medications is also very important. Just as those with diabetes or heart disease must take their medications to function, so those with bipolar conditions must do the same. The brain can need help as much as the pancreas or the heart. Even fairly severe cases of bipolar can be treated if the patient is willing to take the appropriate medication consistently. I encourage you to let your doctor know of your depression and take the medication the doctor prescribes.

      I also encourage you to work on reforming your mind. Memorize Scripture. Think about Scripture. Seek to know God better. Be thankful to God. Everyday, stop and thank God for something that is good; forgiven sins, the hope of heaven, sunshine, gentle rain, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, or any number of other things. As Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13, prepare your mind. Think about good things (Philippians 4:8). Set your mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-3). Seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

      Your life can change when you exercise self-control in prayer with God and in service to others. You will find that by seeking Him and doing His will, He will come and make His home with you (John 14:21-24).

      But to do this, you need to be following the advice of your doctor and taking the medication your doctor prescribes.

      Reply
  2. Eric

    Oh, Pam I pray for God to give you peace and hope in your life!

    I’m also struggling with a hardening heart and great fear and anxiety. I had a head injury as a child and afterward developed a restless mind that attacked me continually with terrible fears. Losing my salvation or going to hell was #1. I’ve been a believer for over 20 years, but I’ve struggled with addiction throughout my life. God has been giving me grace the past year and has allowed dramatic fears to push me into repentance. I don’t regret that, but the past year I’ve been struggling with an over-active conscience that nags me tirelessly about everything. But I’m not doing anything wrong. In the past I did ignore my conscience greatly doing various things I was convinced wasn’t a sin, or I didn’t want it to be for me, but I’m trying to follow God and accept forgiveness. I fear my soul is nearly dead from this though. What hope do I have that Christ can heal and restore me?

    Reply
  3. Joe Foster

    Soo my problem is, my heart is hardened. I have read your articles and don’t know where to start.. My whole thing is I don’t want to be self deceived because I don’t want Jesus to tell me that even though I renewed my mind, he never knew me. I want to be sure of my salvation. I do lack the spirit because he has not witnessed into me that I am a child of God. However, there are times where I do feel convicted for the wrong things I do. How do I get passed all of this?? It’s like a barrier between me & God that just won’t seem to go away.. Is God finished with me?? He hasn’t spoken to me in a while.. I tried confessing my sins, even ones I couldn’t remember and others I couldn’t think of.. Idk what to do, I just want to be back in fellowship with God. I want him to speak to me, I want to feel his love and know that he loves me. Idk what to do! Anything helps at this point! I want God back, but don’t know how to go about it. It seems like nothing I do gets his attention.. Please help, I don’t like wrestling in my head everyday with my thoughts.. Sometimes I can’t tell if satan us preventing me or if God is turning his face from me or if it’s my own thoughts.. This madness has to end! Please help..

    Reply
      1. jr madden

        well. king saul was concerned when the holy
        spirit left him we must be concerned enough to seek god earnestly.believers are sealed with the spirit saul was not..true believers grieve the spirit but he,s still in us ,we dont see his work in us.if we harden our hearts.we must ask god grant us repentance hebrews says harden not your hearts ,those who did in -the old.testament..turn ye at my reproof.god can were willing to …it may take a hardend heart dosent happen over nite..

        Reply
        1. Mark

          TO say that the Holy Spirit will not leave the so called ‘true believer” is an outright lie of the devil. That perspective comes from the damnable heresy of “once saved always saved”. NOWHERE does the bible teach that one cannot lose their salvation.

          Reply
          1. Petros

            Jesus said all the father gives him he will lose nothing. The bible also says all the justified will be glorified. The bible also states that true believers names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. I have a lot more.

        2. Steve

          King Saul, may have been concerned abut his circumstances, but never concerned enough about his sin to humble himself before God, pray, and turn from his wicked ways. He was only worried about his worldy circumstances and his worldly kingdom.

          Reply
      2. Chris Bronsdon

        This is true! The truly hardened heart is not concerned with the state of their heart and won’t even be asking the question. So, if you are today concerned that your heart is hard, then be encouraged, you are NOT lost, there is hope.
        This was my experience only a few weeks ago. I was convinced my 29 years as a Christian, serving in church, was a sham and I had never been born again. I too, like others on this forum had serious mental health issues.
        I finally confessed and repented of the sin in my heart and the Lord wonderfully delivered me from darkness and brought me back into his light.
        Today is the day of salvation. Cry out to Him!

        Hebrews 3:7
        Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
        “Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden you…

        Reply
  4. Paul

    Am Paul…..Please help me out. Am also going through a hardened heart for almost a year now because of continuous sin i was doing. The Holy Spirit doesn’t prompt me anymore, i dont sense Gods presence, my spiritual eyes are closed, and I’ve lost the fear of the lord!. I’ve prayed to God but nothing is showing off. Am afraid that what i did has grieved the spirit and that he has left me. Thoughts and fear also gripped my that, God is not minding me because I’ve commited the sin unto death. I really need God. Please help me out. My e-mail address is paulannan66@yahoo.com

    Reply
  5. Peyton Singh

    I really need help, does this mean that I can’t go to Heaven until my heart is unhardened? I am on the right path, I have stopped what I was doing and I have stopped the main sin that was ruling my life. I can feel the Holy Spirit a little more, it’s been about a week of praying and reading the Bible. I just want to know, if my heart is hard, do I go to hell, or if I get it unhardened do I go to Heaven?

    Reply
  6. William Gohn

    Thank you ALL for courageously sharing on the “hardened(ing) heart”. Funny thing here, as I read I heard that small Voice (I suppose the Holy Sprit) telling me to “Trust God”. All of your suggestions are immensely helpful, and (after reading the daily Our Daily Bread devotional [November 27, 2015]), I am reminded – as the author wrote, “God helps those who know they are helpless”. I have struggled (as I now know that I am currently) as you all have… and, I have followed most of your invaluable suggestions in the past (I must NOT GIVE UP ON GOD!). I guess what ‘works’ for me in this process (journey) is admitting my insufficiency – and God’s “more than” sufficiency. Immersion in His Word (The Bible) and sincere prayer are mandatory.

    Reply
  7. Chad

    I’ve dealt with a hardened heart as most of you have. Hopefully what I went through can be of help to some of you guys.
    I was saved at a young age and grew up in a church home. I went to church 90% of Sundays up until the latter part of my teenage years. It was then when I slowly began going my own way. For the next 20 years I battled with alcoholism and other addictions. I did attend church off and on during this time but never could totally commit. I also prayed during this time and for the most part felt like God was still there. Then one day a bible verse came across my Twitter feed that changed my life. It was Hebrews 10:26-27 which says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” I had no idea this verse even existed. Complete depression instantly sank in! I cried out to God and begged him for an answer as to whether or not I was still saved. I couldn’t eat or sleep for four days until He led me to book titled How Good is Good Enough by Andy Stanley. Basically I was forgiven as long as I repent.
    Life then became better for a few months until I decided to have a few beers one evening. I didn’t cross over into drunkeness but nonetheless it was enough for the Hebrews verse to consume me again a few days later. I had finally done it this time. I felt like I was being condemned. Once again very little sleep and loss of appetite accompanied this feeling of condemnation. I couldn’t even pick up my bible and read it. It worried me almost literally to death that I may have lost my salvation. It was changing me as a person. I once again couldn’t feel anything. Good things were happening to people around me and I was the least bit happy for them. I hated feeling like this and knew it was wrong but there nothing I could do. I had no desire to do anything. I talked to my own pastor and another pastor as well about my issue. I also sought out other godly men looking for answers. The consensus was I wasn’t being condemned since it bothered me so much and a few suggested I was under attack from Satan. I then began studying spiritual warfare in the bible. It was then I realized I was under attack from Satan. I must have said, “He who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”
    . I prayed 20+ times a day. Nothing seemed to be working for months. I felt myself literally sinking. I was almost convinced I was going to hell.
    My pastor then quoted me Ephesians 2:8 which says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”. Pastor emphatically told me this was a FACT not an emotion. A FACT!! Things then began to change a little. Small change but nonetheless a positive change. I still couldn’t understand why after all the times I had said “He who is in me is greater than who is in the world”, nothing ever changed. Had the Holy Spirit really left me? Then God spoke to me and I’ll never forget it. God said to me, “How is the Holy Spirit suppose to fight for you when you’re doubting he’s even in you? You have to BELIEVE!” I then said one more time, “He who is in you is greater than who is in the world”. Only this time I said it with confidence and certainty. Instantaneously things changed. My doubt was the cause. All I had to do was BELIEVE. Not only that I had to truly repent from past sins which I did. Life is good again and I know where I’m going to spend eternity. This experience caused me to draw extremely close to Jesus and I’m thankful for it.
    Hopefully this will help someone overcome their hardened heart and get past their doubts. I pray for restoration for all of you that desire it. God bless.

    Reply
    1. Mattie

      Thank you for sharing your testimony. I’ve be going thru this same thing for what seems like forever. Your post confirmed that it has been the dout, lack of faith. Not truly believing even tho I have seen God’s grace, mercy, love, forgiveness time and time again in my past. HE WHO IS IN YOU IS GREATER than he who is in the world. It’s grabbing a hold of God’s word daily and truly believing and trusting in it! Thanks again!! God is good- all the time!!!

      Reply
    2. Jonathan

      Thank you so much for this comment it has helped since I was attacked by Satan like never before yesterday, when I first watched a video on true and false repentance two nights ago, and the false repentance fit with mine I experienced my first ever anxiety attack. That night and all day yesterday I had to fight every minute of the day and hold on to faith but this morning I lost hope and I believed my faith was null since the lack of true repentance and I was so scared that I didn’t believe I was saved because a failure for having proper motives. so then I tried to rebelieve a few times since I was afraid of hell. Then I got worried I had done what in the bible was referring to trampling on Jesus Bloodand thought I was eternally damned.

      Reply
    3. Elsie

      My heart has been waiting for this testimony. God has moved me through this. I have been blazing a trail of wrath and fury through my life, distraught at things I cannot change and wrongs I cannot have undone to me, and my own rage and anger has gripped my heart and made me wretched. Fear, sorrow, self-contempt, and the frantic desire for mercy often cloud my mind as I watch my heart harden, not even realizing that this is what is happening. Prayer had begun to seem so futile, despite huge strides I had been trying to make in my life to change the turmoiled heart I was burdened with.

      But God restores hope. Hallelujah, Christ reigns in those that receive Him willingly.
      Thank you and Amen.

      Reply
  8. steven

    i used to go to a baptist church, and was baptized there out of fear…feeling like i could never be forgiven. remembering rejecting christ in my youth and early adulthood. i was always afraid, until i came upon a universal salvation website that said all men will be saved. all my fears went away…then my mind started going funny, i thought the bible was riddles i had to solve, and as i tried that , i started hallucinating(i had been without food for a week), and i was hallucinating for a while after that. it took me down a scary road…almost to permanent unbelief in christ. i sought out the truth, and came back to seek god again out of fear. most of my emotions went away while i was on antipsychotics, but i can cry now. has god given up?

    Reply
    1. Joseph

      Ezekiel 36:26
      I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

      Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people

      Take heart my friend. I’ve been in your shoes. Numb to my sin, devoid of the spirit.. Nothing inside me.. But God is good. Christ jesus died for us WHILE WE WERE IN SIN. Not when we repented, not when we went to church, but while we were deserving of Gods wrath..

      Isaiah 59:1
      59 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear

      Trust in him, wait on him. For your salvation, repentence, redemption, hope, strength!
      Take heart! He has overcome the…

      Reply
  9. Bill

    Thank you, Chad, for sharing this valuable insight. I, too, have been wondering if my heart is hardening to the extent that God’s Holy Spirit will no longer dwell within me. Then… the question (actually two) arose: “Do I believe in God?” An emphatic, “Yes”; and, “Do I believe God?” There’s the rub — and (as always), Scripture in ‘cahoots’ with God’s Spirit, says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” So, it’s a second-by-second, line-item by line-item battle. Yet, when God says, “Cease striving, and know that I am God”, victory is pretty much in the bag (in my life, really). This follows: “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10)…

    Reply
  10. jen

    U will know if u have lost your salvation …. i have and its a nightmare thats been going on for ten years tormented day and night …. my mind changed and i felt the holy spirit leave …. i wud do anything to repent but he gave me the scripture about trampling on the blood of jesus i was shaken to the core and i am unable to repent …. i am too scared to live and terrified of dying

    Reply
    1. Jimmy

      If you had committed this sin I do not think you would even worry about it Believe on Jesus. Continue to Believe John 6:37 will not cast you out feelings do not count

      Reply
    2. Tyler

      Jen,

      I’m sorry to hear you think you lost your salvation! Can I ask what caused you to think you’ve lost it?

      Sincerely,
      Tyler

      Reply
    3. Petros

      You sound like your struggling with mental illness/religious ocd. You need to see that your faith is under attack. Jesus said all sin and blasphemy will be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and if you blasphemed the Holy Spirit you wouldn’t care or know about it. If you want to return to God or want his forgiveness your the only thing holding yourself back. Accept Gods grace and forgiveness and forgive yourself. The fact that you want to return to God means he is drawing you to himself. God is not willing that any should perish. That includes you. Ball is in your court. Stop listening to satans lies.

      Reply
    4. J.V.

      Jen, have you gone to a Bible- believing pastor? The enemy harassed & uses the Bible, too. Also, read about Repro on the “I think I lost my salvation “. He had a situition where it sounded similar to yours. He was restored after torment of 14 years. He explains how he came to Faith again & even with all the scriptures he believed he was condemned with.

      Reply
    5. J.V.

      Jen, don’t give up. The enemy tries to make you think all is lost. Get help from a Bible believing church, that knows about spiritual warfare. You can still get help, don’t be isolated.

      Reply
    6. HJ

      Jen, I’ve been thinking of you and wondering about something. How do you know it was the Holy Spirit who gave you the scripture? The Holy Spirit does not condemn, he convicts. Please turn to God and ask for repentance. I made many of these mistakes and assumptions, but when I turned to God He was there for me.

      Reply
    7. Malvern

      Hello Jen i feel like iam also suffering from the same problem ..just a few weeks back i was praying and seeking God for 4 days and at the end of these days as i came across the scripture regarding trampling the blood of Jesus a deep fear gripped me and i felt like the Holy Spirit left me and that night i could not sleep,from that day onwards i felt hopeless and my whole world changed i tried to repent daily but it seems like it is too late .iam also too scared to live now

      Reply
        1. HJ

          Jen, do you want to post your email and I will respond? I don’t want to post mine, because it’s my real name and I don’t have an alternate account. I hope you are doing better. Have you tried battling fear with the word? I did, and it was the only thing that stopped the panic attacks when I was having them.

          Reply
  11. Jonathan

    Thank you so much, you have given me hope. I have been feeling terrified that I would be doomed to hell with no heart because I could not have godly sorrow which leads to repentance unto life. The thing is I don’t feel like my repentance was genuine when I came to believe, I just tried to believe God would do it for me and that I could trust in the fact Jesus redeemed me. However, I feel worried that I don’t have the love for Christ and I am really hoping that God will help me to soften my heart and open my eyes to the true glory of Jesus Christ and the Father who sent him but right now I feel my heart takes it for granted, and I know that it is death, and that Jesus would not know me. If anyone is willing lets pray for our hardened…

    Reply
  12. Deepu Joy

    Thank you Sir! The example of the child/ King Manasseh and the Word of God : Psalm 51:10 (our constant beseeching God to root the sin) + Romans 12:1-2 +2 Corinthians 3:18 was most helpful. May God JESUS bless you abundanty !

    Reply
  13. Rick

    The Lord can help you , remember Jonah, He was rebellious to God and entered into a big fish meaning a spiritual death condition where I couldn’t hear God’s voice or anyone talking a word from God to Him. He changed His attitude and prayed like never seeking the Lord and remembering His Goodness Psalm 69 talks about a condition of not able to hear about God and the solution for a death or hardened heart is only one. Seek God and decide to do fruits of repentance.
    1) Pray, Obey God has taught you, come back to church if you are away , stop any sinful practice and ask forgiveness. God knows everything but He still want us to confess and acknowledge 1 John 9 . Sometimes restoration takes time.

    Reply
    1. jen

      Hi sam be real with jesus he already knows where you are at …. he is for u not against u …. he loves u dearly …. find spirit filled fellowship …. be vulnerable in your relationship with father god jesus made the way for u …. keep in the written word of god …. and spend time with jesus the living word …. holy spirit will comfort council and teach u …. try listening to joseph prince online …. he has a wonderful ministry that will help u to recieve gods grace …. remember jesus paid the price turn to him and he will help u :):)

      Reply
  14. Gillian

    Hi my name is Gillian and I’ve been wondering if I have hardened my heart towards God. When I read the Bible it doesn’t penetrate my heart and when I listen to gospel music it doesn’t touch my heart the way it use to. I feel like there’s a weight around my heart causing me not to feel any emotions towards God. Is there a solution?

    Reply
  15. Chris Bronsdon

    The truly hardened heart is not concerned with the state of their heart and won’t even be asking the question. So, if you are today concerned that your heart is hard, then be encouraged, there IS hope!
    This was my experience only a few weeks ago.
    I was convinced my 29 years as a Christian was a sham and I had never been born again. I too, like others on this forum had serious mental health issues.
    I finally confessed and repented of the sin in my heart & the Lord wonderfully delivered me from darkness and brought me back into his light.
    Today is the day of salvation. Cry out to Him!
    Revelation 3:20
    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with…

    Reply
  16. C V

    I am also scared i suffer from a hardened heart. As a child i grew up in a cgristian home but I made stupud sinful choices and willfully sinned knowing i was wrong. Ive prayed the prayer a gazilliion times but dobt have assurance and it is like my heart has never changed. I know i deserve hell and…

    Reply

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