January 22nd

Heart Trouble

12[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.
13But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].
14For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.
Hebrews 3:12-14 AMP
 

This passage describes a dangerous “spiritual heart condition” that can lead us to turn away from God.  This condition is rooted in unbelief which can also be described as a lack of faith. The Amplified version helps us understand what unbelief is – i.e. when we refuse to cleave to, trust in, and rely on God.  Left unchecked, an unbelieving heart can be come “settled” in rebellion against God and hardened toward God.  In this condition, there are no guarantees that the person will return to God.  

Our modern society provides plenty of challenges to our faith in God.  In fact, many of the influences of society are working cohesively to divert our faith in God to something else. For example, the media (film, television, internet, radio, print) often champions themes that encourage self-trust, indulgence and adoption of worldly values such as materialism, power and pride.  Other contributing factors include the wonders of modern technology and medicine, which can further obscure our recognition of our need for God.    

We must remain vigilant in protecting our faith and ensuring that our trust and reliance in God is not diverted somewhere else.  Too often, the idols we tolerate in our life siphon our allegiance, devotion and attention away from God.   Sexual addiction is an example of one of these “parasitic” idols.  It offers a highway into rebellion and a hardened heart toward God.   Pornography floods our hearts with sinful passions, and reinforces them with unforgettable images that torment our minds for years.  If we dwell on these thoughts and images, we’re likely to start believing the lies they espouse.   If we continue to tolerate the sin, our conscience will soon be numbed to right and wrong and we’re likely to settle comfortably into a downward spiral of depravity.  

Even if we’ve gone that far into sin, there is still hope of recovery in Jesus Christ.  The road to freedom may not be easy, but it is possible.  God is the God of the impossible and he wants to save everyone who is willing to repent and return to him.  

The steps to returning to faith in God or restoring our faith in God include:

Those steps will help us maintain a healthy spiritual heart, free of the clogging agents of sin. We’ll also be well prepared to withstand the temptations that come our way and remain rooted in our faith in God. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, Thank you for providing a way of rescue and forgiveness for my sin. I confess that I have sinned against you in many ways, including:____________(list).  Please forgive me for tolerating these sins and sinful attitudes.  Please help me recognize the areas that I have grown numb in conscience and help me be renewed in sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in those areas.  Please cleanse my mind and heart with your blood, which brings renewal, cleansing and new life.  I desire to live in the new life that you made possible for me.  Please lead me, teach me and empower me to do so each day.  Thank you, Jesus!  In your holy name I pray, Amen.”