Annihilating Our Greatest Enemy

Picture of a Bible with quote from Oswald Chambers

The hungry and neglected heart will always find a way to justify sin. To deceive itself into believing that forbidden act is life-giving and that the ways of God lead to death. Death of joy, of freedom, of peace. Every compromising step gains strength, feeding the lies slowly strangling our souls, convincing us that God isn’t truly loving, faithful, and good. Until, years later, we look back at the rubble of our lives and wonder how we reached such devastation.

Relationships destroyed.

People hurt.

Hope dashed.

Jobs lost.

Personal integrity and our self-respect, shattered.

Our sense of purpose crushed between an overwhelming sense of futility.

Obedience is hard. Sometimes painful. But always life giving. And yet, this truth is hard to understand, to truly believe, if we don’t truly know God. Perhaps this is why A. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

The spouse who flirts with their coworker rather than investing in their marriage demonstrates they don’t believe God has their best in mind. That He’s either incapable of fulfilling Christ’s promises to bring us peace and joy, or that He simply doesn’t care enough to do so.

The friend who gives in to gossip believes the gratification and shallow connection she receives in the moment will fulfill her more than a life that honors Christ. That those immature friends, not God, will give her what her soul craves most.

We can often recognize, perhaps even predict, the destruction that comes from “big” and scandalous sins like adultery or theft, while excusing, even justifying the pride that slowly but steadily silences God’s voice and pull us further and further from Him.

Honestly, that’s the most destructive force within me, the virus that all too easily multiplies and evolves. It almost destroyed my marriage. It’s caused pain to my child. Because of it, I’ve had times when I’ve remained tethered to an “offense” that seeped toxins into my soul.

We’ve all probably witnessed this progression in others. We might even have felt repulsion rise up , but do we feel the same gut-level disgust to the sin lurking within us? Ready to devour us?

Darkness doesn’t play around, y’all. This is why Jesus used such strong, vivid analogies in Mark 9 when He said, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell” Mark 9:42-47, NIV).

Strong words. While not meant to be taken literally, they do accurately convey this truth: sin is much too enticing, deceptive, and destructive for us to tiptoe around it.

Woman walking in sand and quote on not tiptoeing around sin.

We were meant for more. For life. Vibrant, beyond-our-expectations, life. One so rich and full, Jesus was willing to give His all that we might receive it. May we honor that precious gift in how we live each day and with every thought and burgeoning desire we feed or starve.

Let’s talk about this! What are some ways you protect your heart before ugly seeds take root? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other. And make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Chronological Reading Plan Graphic Week 30

Catch the latest podcast episode, with guest Ava Pennington here:

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

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