Topic: Ephesians 4:17-18
"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4: 17-18).
Paul is exhorting us not to live like unbelievers with futile thinking. If we look carefully at his words we will realize that the problem didn't start in their minds; it started in their hearts.
Thus by starting at the end of these verses and working backward, we can see the downward spiral.
Hardening of their hearts led to ignorance. They became ignorant of the truth.
Their ignorance of the truth caused them to be separated from God, because God is truth.
Their ignorance also meant they became darkened in their understanding.
Finally, separation from God and darkened understanding resulted in futile thinking.
Therefore if our hearts have been hardened, we can't rely on our reasoning. Our very thought process has become useless and vain. Because we were created by God, it is only in right relationship with God that we can think rightly.
How do our hearts become hardened?
It doesn't happen all at once. Sin's deceitfulness creeps insidiously into our hearts by degrees. Every time we choose our way over God's way our heart becomes a little more resistant to the truth. Every time God whispers what is right and we choose to act according to our will rather than His, we harden our hearts.
Soon we lose all sensitivity to the truth of God. Our thinking becomes futile because it is no longer based on the truth.
~ God, don't let me harden my heart. When I hear Your voice, help me to respond with humility. Your ways are right and true; show me how to walk in them.
Can you trust your thinking, if your heart is hard? What does the connection between a hard heart and futile thinking mean for your life today?