Avoiding tobaccos, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, watching our weight, getting enough sleep, and regular checkups are all actions suggested for preventing heart disease. But what can we do to prevent a spiritually hardened heart? Are there things we should avoid, do regularly, and consume that will keep our spiritual hearts healthy?
In Psalm 95, we find the psalmist calling on the Israelites to avoid a hardened heart (v. 8) exhibited by their ancestors as they demanded water (see Ex. 17). A series of actions (1-2, 6, and 7b) and reasons for those actions (3-5, 7a, 8-11) surround the psalmist’s warning. The psalmist called on the people to shout joyfully and triumphantly (vs. 1-2), to thankfully enter God’s presence (v 2), to worship, to bow down and kneel before God (v 6), and to listen to God’s voice (v 7). Behind these actions is the realization of the greatness and goodness of God and His grace in allowing us to be included in His flock (v 7).
All these actions point to genuine worship of God, which is the cure for a hardening spiritual heart. Each action requires participation on the part of the one worshiping. Some people bemoan worship, claiming they didn’t get anything out of it. They approach at worship as a spectator waiting to receive something in return for their presence. The psalmist reminded the Israelites that worship is about what one gives. We are to give God praise, bow to Him, and listen to His voice as we enter His presence. He’s not interested in us giving our money as much as He is in our giving Him our loyalty and obedience. If we want to prevent a spiritually hard heart, then we should genuinely worship Him. Our pride causes the hardening of our hearts. Genuine worship removes our pride (In verse 1, God provides our salvation, not us. In verse 2, God is above all, including us. In verse 6, He is our Maker, not us. In verses 8-11, His voice leads to life, not our thoughts). Our pride makes worship about us, while genuine worship is about Him. God-focused worship is the path to a healthy spiritual heart.
How would you describe the relationship between worship and a healthy spiritual heart?