Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and ministry leader who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com or follow her on Twitter at @JenSlattery.
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.
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.
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.
Catch the latest podcast episode, with guest Ava Pennington here: