Warning: May Cause Hardening of the Spiritual Arteries

Read Hebrews 3

“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so
that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
(Hebrews 3:13)

Thoughts… Why is sin so destructive? Not because sin can’t be forgiven—it can. God “forgives all of our sins,” Psalm 103:3 declares. Not that sin isn’t repugnant to a holy God—it is. Isaiah wrote, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) Not that sin doesn’t have consequences—it does. The prophet declared, “Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you.” (Jeremiah 30:15) Not that sin won’t send a soul to hell—it will. Ezekiel 18:20 clearly states, “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” All that is true, which is precisely why sin is so destructive.

But the subtle danger of sin is its deceitfulness—and that, perhaps more than anything, is what makes it so destructive. Sin lulls us into a hardness of heart where, at some point, we no longer care to ask forgiveness, where we no longer worry that it is offensive to God, where we no longer are restrained by its consequences, where the reality of hell becomes just a fading thought in our conscience.

The ugly danger of sin is that it causes the hardening of our spiritual arteries. Every time we sin, we flirt with reaching that tipping point—the point at which our arteries clog just a little more and our heart is no longer able to receive the life-giving word of the Holy Spirit calling us to repent and turn back to God.

I have known many people who suddenly experience shortness of breath and tightness in their chest—their arteries have become clogged. Suddenly, they need angioplasty…or heart bypass surgery. But in reality, it wasn’t all that sudden. Rather, slowly, imperceptibly, day-by-day, harmful forces were at work in their bodies until the day came when one little sticky piece of plaque was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and they were now facing the reality of the serious trouble that had been brewing for some time.

That’s exactly why sin is so powerfully destructive. Little by little it does its damage, until one day we no longer care about what God cares about. Sin has deceived us into a spiritual lassitude from which we may not recover.

What is the cure to this spiritual arteriosclerosis? Change your habits. Get your spiritual exercise—daily Bible reading, devotions, prayer, tithing, church attendance, personal ministry. Watch what you eat—stay away from junk that fills your flesh but rots your spirit—severely restricting your media intake would be my advice. Nurture spiritual relationships—accountability, support, and Christian fellowship have always been the key to healthy spirituality. Dramatically alter your entire life—live every moment like it could be the last one before you stand in the presence of a loving but holy God.

Whatever you do, do not let the deceitfulness of sin harden your spiritual arteries.

Dear God, I repudiate all the sin in my life. Forgive me for each one that I have committed. Cleanse me from all of them. Keep me from evil, and from the evil one today. May I live pure and blameless in your sight today…and each and every day until the day you take me home to be with you.

One More Thing…
“One great power of sin is that it blinds men so that they do not recognize its true character.” — Andrew Murray

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