Hard

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceptive. 

It can look desirable on the outside, but, after that first taste, is sours and becomes bitter at the end. It’s painted with a veneer of pleasure; made to look ‘fun.’ We fail to see the chains of bondage that await us when first we take that bite. 

Many claim their upbringing as the reason for their sinful behavior. Others say the devil ‘made’ them do it. We paint ourselves as victims when it is wholly within our grasp to find the remedy. 

Before the world began, God knew that His creation would fall into sin. His love made way for us to be redeemed and brought back into fellowship as we were created to be. 

Jesus told us where this all originates:

Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”

So, what makes a man good or evil?

We are all created equal. We are all created in the likeness and image of God.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

Created in His likeness and image does not make us good or evil. All that God created He called good after He made it. What made us evil was the choice to disobey and depart from what God gave to us. Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God never intended for man to know the difference. 

Satan comes along and entices the woman to take and eat of that fruit. Adam could have chosen to allow Eve to be the only one in disobedience to God. Think of it; God could very well have taken another rib and made another wife for him. But Adam chose to be with his wife instead of obedient to God.

Sin entered into the world; and death by sin. 

From Adam till now, we have seen the devastation of what sin can do. Sin deceives. Sin wounds and causes suffering. Sin divides and destroys. Sin hardens our hearts toward God.

Once we get saved, we can longer be good sinners. The power and presence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit bear witness to the truth that we possess a sinful nature, and is placed in subjection to the will of our Heavenly Father. 

When sin has a stronghold in the life of a child of God, it hardens the heart of the believer to first resist the Spirit of God, rebel against His leading, and finally, reject His counsel. When we love our sin more than we love our God, we stand in opposition to Him as an enemy.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

It all originates in our heart; not that organ that pumps blood throughout our body. Many mistake it for that and tie emotion to a decision that is of our mind. We learn of our heart:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

The humanist will place his trust in that which God says is so deceitful and desperately wicked that we should not trust it at all. We should give over to God the keeping of our hearts. He knows best how to control it.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

When the heart of a believer remains in sin for any length of time, they become hard to the voice that calls them to repentance. They hear only the voice of their desire fed and fueled by the enemy as he wraps another chain around them.

God and His Word have the power to break those chains if we who believe would employ the resources available to us. There was a spirit that held a certain man, and the disciples were unable to cast it out. Jesus opened their eyes to the root of the problem.

Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

The Christian life is not hard – sin is hard.

Proverbs 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”

Jesus revealed to them and to us:

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Prayer and fasting exercise our will and desire to work. It demonstrates our character and our heart’s desire to want good and right. Sin makes us passive to righteousness and zealous for self. Pride and selfishness are given fuel from the sin we commit. The more we sin, the more pride will harden our hearts toward our Heavenly Father. 

Those with wayward children know all too well that words fail miserably to convince that one of the errors of their ways. It is that precious prayer closet and the sacrificial fasting that will allow the impossible to be possible with God. 

It becomes even stronger when we can covenant with others who will do likewise. 

Today, let us exhort one another and admonish each other to pray fervently for that which only God can do. Pray that it be for His glory. Tell God you will brag on His victory in that one’s life, and we can watch the hand of God move for us.

Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

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