“How blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” Proverbs 28:14
One definition of the fear of the Lord can be inferred by its opposite. If hardening your heart is how you express not fearing the Lord; then the true fear of the Lord must involve maintaining a soft, responsive heart. So how do we do this?
First by repentance. To stay soft we must be good at repenting. Joel 2:13 “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.” God doesn’t want us to fall into trouble, so He wants us to really repent (our hearts) and not just appear to repent (our garments). A great definition for repentance is given in the verse before our text: “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Secondly by prompt obedience. Hebrews 3:7-8 says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion during the time of testing in the desert.” Every time God speaks to us we have the potential of becoming softer or harder. Purpose to obey Him no matter what, small or big, if He will make it clear to you that it is Him speaking. There are many voices speaking today: our own anxieties, demonic influences, false religious expectations; but also the sweet Spirit of God. Test what you are hearing and if it is the voice leading you toward “righteousness, peace, and joy” (Romans 14:17), obey without hesitation and reap the benefits of having a tender heart before God.