Heart calluses

Heart calluses

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation, feel proud about yourselves – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. – Romans 11:25

Ephesians 4:18-19   

 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.

 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

The most common kind of calluses are those we get on our feet and hands. These external calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop from repeated friction, irritation, or pressure on the skin.   

These hardened layers of skin or calluses are actually your body’s way of protecting the underlying skin from the irritation and pressure. For most people, simply eliminating the source of friction or pressure makes calluses disappear.

Internally calluses are a chalklike concretions that form in the tissues or small joints. They can slow or completely paralyze movement. When a bone is broken and set and recovers, the area becomes thicker and harder than the original bone itself. The healed area is also called a callus (Barclay).

The Greek word translated as hardness, callousness, insensitivity is porosis. Porosis is derived from the Greek verb poroo to harden, petrify, render insensitive (Mark 3:5, Romans 11:25, Ephesians 4:18). Poros originally meant a stone that was harder than marble. Finally, the word came to mean the loss of all power of sensation; it described something which had become so hardened, so petrified that it had no power to feel at all (Barclay).

Physical calluses are rarely a problem. But spiritual calluses are quite a different thing. It is a state of being devoid of feeling and mental awareness (Zodhiates). Such hardening is one of the primary characteristics of soulishness, fleshliness, or unbelief.

Before we became children of the King it was one of the essential characteristics of our lives. We were concerned with empty things which do not matter; our minds are darkened because of our ignorance. The result was grim and terrible: our hearts were petrified, turned to stone. We had lost the power of feeling with our hearts and being flexible with our minds (Barclay). Sadly, the hearts of many of the Father’s children are hardened.

Spiritual petrification or dullness is the heart’s response to the irritation of sin and its consequences. Repeated sin has a petrifying effect. At first, people may regard sin with concern. When they sin, remorse and regret enter into their hearts. But, if people continue to sin, there comes a time when they lose all sensation and can do the most shameful things without any feeling at all. Their consciences have become petrified (Barclay).


To eliminate heart calluses, it is necessary to remove what causes them or they simply re-form.

Father You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Psalms 51:6, 7).


The heart is used to describe the root of our unconscious as well as our conscious motivation (Constable). Hardening of the heart is an expression found in both the Old and New Testaments. It occurs many times in the book of Exodus with reference to the stubbornness of Pharaoh. Upon closer inspection, sometimes the Pharaoh hardened his own heart. At other times, the Father hardened Pharaoh’s heart. In each instance, one of two different Hebrew words is used to describe Pharaoh’s heart: qashah difficult or chazaq strong. But in each case, it refers to the Pharaoh’s stubbornness and inflexibility (UBS). 

The outward signs of heart calluses are stubbornness, willfulness, obstinacy, rigidness, and the like. We simply are set in our ways and unwilling to change. We have made up our minds and refuse to budge.

With regards to physical calluses, to eliminate them, it is necessary to remove the source of irritation or they simply re-form. The same is true of calluses of the heart. But this presents a real practical problem for each child of the King. Because we really do not know our own hearts as well as we think we do.

Jeremiah 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

Yet we are assured that the Father Himself knows the condition of each person’s heart and the source of every callous.

Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.

David had significant calluses on his heart. He hardened his own heart when he contemplated and acted out his sin with Bathsheba. David provides a model prayer for us to discover what is in our hearts that we might begin to remove the sources of our spiritual “heart disease.”

Psalms 139:23-24 

 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts.

 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.  

A teachable spirit goes a long way.

Proverbs 12:1 To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.


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