Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
How do we end up stuck in unbelief? Any of us have the potential to turn away from God, be lured into a life of disobedience. Sin is a part of our lives here on earth – it doesn’t go away. Sure, we can experience victory over sin and through Jesus’ blood, we do. Without constant submission to God though, our hearts can be easily deceived.
I Peter 5:8 says Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
And our hearts growing cold and hard isn’t always an obvious change at first either, to ourselves or others. Strangely, it reminds me tooth decay! That close-to-invisible sugar just sits there on a strong hearty tooth. Teeth are bones and sugar and bacteria are so small and “harmless,” aren’t they? But, in no time, there’s a hole right through that tooth.
Or another teeth analogy, this time orthodontics, (our fourth child just started orthodontics! It’s been a constant subject in my house!), when years of braces are over what happens when we skip wearing that annoying retainer every night? I know first hand (and my kids hear it often!), eventually it will be too late and you’re back to crooked teeth despite all that time and money. All that work and nothing has changed.
The little things do matter. Every little act of obedience does matter. Small sins can cause so many problems and can lead us down a slippery slope right into the enemy’s camp. No person can claim to be beyond deception. If we are honest, we know we are completely able to be deceived apart from God and we can easily deceive ourselves on a regular basis.
It’s God, and God alone, that keeps our hearts on course, soft, pliable, and attentive to His voice. If we’re wise, we saturate our minds with His Word and make it a habit to invite God to point out anything and everything that should not be in our hearts and minds.
I enjoy finding new and favorite verses in the Bible…there are so many words of encouragement and hope! But, this summer I came across a least favorite verse. As I read James McDonald’s book “When Life Is Hard”, (highly recommended!) he brings up Hebrews 12:17 and how sad it is for a person to get to the point that repentance just can’t happen any more. “He [Esau] could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” Esau finally wants to change his ways, but his heart is hard as a rock, and without God’s help, he cannot bring it to change anymore. God gives us second, third, thousandth, etc. chances! He is so good and forgiving. But, even He has a point that time’s up and an end is reached.
I’d like to think I have control over my own heart.
I’ll just let this little part harden while I enjoy this teensy sin, and let God in the rest. He’ll forgive me! He always does! Then, just a little more disobedience. I’ll ignore His voice just a little longer; I’m in control. I can stop when I feel like it. I’ll make things right tomorrow, next year, the day I die.
It’s a fool’s path. No sin is harmless or small. I think if we could see the reality of life in the spiritual realm, we would not be so lax and carefree about any sin. We would see as it truly is – immense and disgusting, dripping with deceit and ruin. Running carelessly through a mine field really is better than playing with sin.
We need to run to God and fall on our faces before Him daily.
We need to thank God for the blood of Christ that covers our sin and allows us to be seen as righteous in His holy eyes. And beg, yes beg, Him to open our eyes to our own sin and deception. Beg Him to give us the courage and obedience to stay in the middle of His holy and righteous path, not willing to take even one step to the right or left. We need to cling to Him desperately with every fiber in our bodies. Admit “My heart is prone to deception Lord, and I need your help to live a life pleasing to you.” He is faithful and He will keep us on His path. Praise God!