“For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes – so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.” (Matthew 13:15 – Jesus quoting Isaiah 6:9-10)
In a recent devotional article I read, Carlos Santiago was talking about a surgery he’d had and how the doctor explained that a single wayward bacteria could feed on his body and wreak havoc and how crucial clean bandages would be to keep any hint of them away from his wound.
He connected that to the Apostle Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 5:3 when he wrote: “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.”
It’s ironic that we’re so careful to wear masks to protect ourselves from germs but pay little attention to the things we watch on TV or listen to. Our eyes and ears are windows to our soul that must be guarded as well. We take careful steps to guard against infection in our body, while opening the avenues of our mind to infection in our soul.
Carlos wrote: “Most of us are a lot more careful about our outward actions than our inward thoughts. But Jesus said, ‘… everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).’”
I’ve heard people say things like: “It’s okay to look at the menu as long as you don’t order anything.” Or “It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home.” Those are lies of Satan. It DOES matter if you look at a woman who is not your wife and ponder desire for her. It DOES matter if lust for another person is fueling your desire for your spouse.
Inappropriate sexual behavior has infected whole generations with poisonous lies that have ruined marriages and shattered families. Paul continues in verses 4-5: “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”
“Yeh,” you may retort, “but I’m saved. God will forgive me when I sin.” Yes, and no! If you’re a brand-new believer and are working towards eliminating these behaviors, yes, by all means, keep running back to the Cross and find forgiveness. But if you’ve said a prayer asking for forgiveness but have ignored all avenues of growth as a person of God, that’s a clear indication that God’s Spirit doesn’t reside in you, thus showing you aren’t walking with the Lord. If your walk doesn’t match your talk, you’re walking on a very precarious pathway.
Grace doesn’t overlook habitual sin from which I have no intention of turning. We are ambassadors of Christ, commissioned to carry the Good News of salvation to the people in our spheres of influence. But if our lifestyle is no different from the ones we’re seeking to reach, what are we calling them to? “Hey, come to Christ. He’ll forgive you, but you can continue to live any way you want.”
Paul wrote later in chapter 5:15-17: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
When sin is infecting our heart and mind, we have no recourse but to give illustration to our sin-sickness in and through the way we live. If this is where you find yourself, seek out a godly person to walk with you if you genuinely desire to walk with Jesus. He will forgive you and fill you with His Spirit as you determine to allow Him to redirect your life.
And, yes, of course, it won’t be you doing the changing, but His power within you. But the point is – you change as you become a new person in Christ! You don’t stay the same.
Blessings, Ed 😊