Reversing Spiritual Heart Disease

What does it mean to have a “hardened heart”? This phrase is used a number of times in Scripture, and today, Jeff explains what it means. He also describes what can cause our own hearts to harden and what we can do to avoid those things.

Snippet from the Show
When we face trials in life, we have the choice to either turn to the Lord or turn away from him.


Check out Jeff Cavins’ book Walking with God co-authored with Tim Gray.

Exodus 4:21

“The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

Deuteronomy 2:30

“But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today.”

Jeremiah 16:12

“You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me.”

Jeremiah 19:12

“But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

Matthew 15:13

“For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.”

Mark 8:17-19

“Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

Romans 1:18-24

Paul spells out the recipe for a hardened heart!

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”

What Can Lead to a Hardened Heart?

1. Sin leads to a hardened heart. When we don’t repent, our heart grows harder until we can’t hear God at all, and we don’t see sin as sin any longer. This is spiritual arteriosclerosis. 

2. Pride leads to a hardened heart. This was Pharaoh’s problem, pride.

3. Great disappointment can lead to a hardened heart. You are hurt and crushed but don’t turn to the Lord in that pain. Instead, you self-medicate or blame God. 

4. Apathy and the cares of the world. Like the seed planted, but the cares of the world kill it. 

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 119:9-11

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

What to Do When Your Heart Is Hardened

If you have a hard heart, admit it and turn to the Lord. Go to confession. Here are three things to remember to fight spiritual heart disease:

1. Eat well, the Eucharist and the word of God.

2. Give your stress and cares to the Lord. Cast your cares upon him because he cares for you.

3. Get exercise, do the word of God, and do the will of God in your life.


Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to to view all our offerings.

Meet Your Host: Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. Jeff then received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since then, he has become a leading Catholic evangelist and author.

Jeff created The Bible Timeline learning system, which revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for millions of Catholics. Since its introduction, Jeff has developed The Great Adventure series of Bible studies to help people better understand Sacred Scripture and its meaning for their lives. 

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