A few years ago, I shared with a friend how I used to enjoy playing guitar and leading worship in my early days as a Christian.
“Do you still play?” she asked.
“Oh no, I gave that up long ago,” I replied.
Showing her the finger tips on my left hand, I continued, “See, I don’t even have calluses anymore.”
It was a pretty straightforward conversation—or so I thought. But as I was praying later that day, I distinctly heard the Lord tell me, “Jim, if you had more calluses on your fingers, you would have fewer calluses on your heart.”
How convicting! I saw that when I laid down my guitar several decades ago, I also began to drift away from intimacy with the Lord in my private worship times.
Then a few weeks ago, I was sharing this story with a friend named Justin, and he perceptively asked me, “So, Jim, did you get your calluses back after that?”
I was horrified to admit that I’d taken no action at all after God so clearly rebuked me. But I assured my friend that I wouldn’t procrastinate any longer.
“The next time you see me, make sure to ask me about my calluses,” I urged him. “If I still haven’t picked up my guitar and started worshiping the Lord in my personal devotions, tell me I’m a hypocrite!”
Thankfully, I’ve taken action this time. I’m getting my calluses back, ready for my friend to ask me that question.
Both my guitar playing and my worship are very rusty, however. I’ve found that it takes a while to develop calluses on your fingers again—or to remove them from your heart.
Don’t expect to see me leading worship in public anytime soon. I’ve long since recognized that other people are far more gifted.
But I want to make private worship a more intentional part of my life, regularly listening for God’s voice and asking Him to soften my heart.
Quoting Isaiah 6:10, Jesus warned about the danger of allowing calluses to form on our hearts: “This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes” (Matthew 13:15). What a tragic condition. Yet all too common, I’m afraid.
Like calluses on our fingers, callused hearts develop gradually, over time. If the condition progresses, we ultimately find ourselves in a situation just as the Bible predicts: spiritually unable to hear or see.
If you notice calluses on your heart today, the key isn’t necessarily to develop calluses on your fingers instead. But the process is working for me.
One thing is for sure: Without regularly experiencing God’s presence, our hearts will inevitably grow hard. Like a desert that seldom experiences rain, we become spiritually dry and emotionally barren.
If you truly want to reverse hardness of heart, here’s a homework assignment: Read Psalm 95 in its entirely and ask the Lord to restore you to a heart of worship…listening…and responding. Write down what He tells you to do, and find a friend like Justin to hold you accountable to do it.