Pastor Jack Wellman
When a person begins to feel no conviction from sinning, the Spirit may not be as easily recognized next time. When we resist the conviction of the Spirit, it’s like a little tiny callous starts forming over our heart… and the more we grieve the Holy Spirit, the less we’ll feel His telling us to stop and repent of this and then confess it to God. This is very dangerous for someone who’s not a Christian but does believe in God, since, if they fall away…
2 Peter 2:21 – “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
Whenever we start growing discontented with things in life, we are starting to harden our hearts a bit. It’s not that contentment comes naturally, because even the Apostle Paul had to learn contentment and despite beatings, stoning’s, lashes, and imprisonment, he says…
Philippians 4:11 – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
He also said…
Philippians 4:12 – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
He learned it. He made a choice. When discontentment erupts into anger (which in time it will), that’s wickedness in a person’s heart.
How can we have been redeemed from the pit of hell and then withhold the good news from others is a mystery but some will settle into their pews and not be interested in leaving the church to bring others into the kingdom. The Psalmist wrote…
Psalm 119:71 – “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
When we are no longer afflicted by this world’s evil we may be hardening our hearts. For the Psalmist, affliction was for the purpose of his learning God’s statutes because…
Psalm 119:67 – “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”
In many Christian’s lives we have; prayers without tears, giving without sacrifice, living without fasting, profession without persecution, and prosperity without being poor in spirit. All of this while the world goes to hell. If we can’t cry for those who are perishing with tears asking God to save them, then we care more about ourselves than others. Notice I said “we” since I am not immune either.
God says that He is close to those who are brokenhearted and the contrite of heart.
Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
God cannot fix what is first not broken and cannot fill us if we are full of ourselves.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, so says…
James 4:6 – “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”
The Greek word for opposed is “to range in battle with” or to “be at war with” so if you read James 4:6 for the way it reads in the Greek, it says “God is at war with the proud” and who wants to be at war with God? Not me! Yes, if we are full of pride, we are more like Satan than God because Satan’s pride caused him to rebel against God and our hearts are wicked if we live a life of pride.
Jesus spoke about many of the signs of His return in Matthew 24 and one of the signs would be…
Matthew 24:12 – “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”
Rather than loving others…
2 Timothy 3:2 – “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy”
Instead of having a natural affection for others, they love possessions over people. That’s why the Bible teaches that…
2 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Money is not evil…loving it over God is!
Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
When God gave the Israelites the command to honor their father and mother, this commandment wasn’t written exclusively to them. God expects us to honor our parents, whether they’re living or not. Someone who degrades their parents, especially after they’ve died, is breaking this commandment, and there is no promise of God for a long life on the earth. It is so important that God makes it the first of the “horizontal six” commandments, as the first four are directed to God (vertical), but the remaining six relate to our neighbors, like not stealing from them, not lying to them, and not coveting what they have. Yes, your parents and my parents made mistakes, but I’ve had more than my fair share, but the command to honor our father and mother is not conditional on their performance. It’s not based upon on how good or how bad our parents were and are, so one sign of a wicked and hardening heart is not treating your parents with honor and respect, especially in front of others.
God says through Jeremiah the Prophet…
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
But God can give us a heart of flesh and take out the heart of stone. A fleshly heart is more pliable and easier to penetrate, which is just what God wants to do, but if you or someone you know starts losing the conviction of the Spirit, grows in discontentment, never afflicts themselves over their sin, never sheds a tear in prayer or for others to be saved, no brokenness, and a lack of humility, it’s time to get on your (and my) knees and repent, ask for forgiveness, and find your satisfaction in Christ. If Jesus is all you have…you have all you need.