But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamour of his sin may play on him]. (Heb 3:13-Amplified).
All of us must guard ourselves against the delusions of the three enemies of the Christian life: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Through the years I’ve seen those who were once strong in the Lord fall away into their former sinful lifestyles. It’s a grieving thing to see a precious saint of God become entangled again in bondage.
Backsliding as we call it, is a slow process. It’s the result of the little foxes (Song of Solomon 2:15) that are not dealt with daily. Small compromises eventually produce catastrophic effects. The small crack in the dam will eventually lead to its destruction.
Sin produces hardness. I’ve watched over the years as a seemingly wonderful person suddenly falls into adultery, or alcoholism, or greed, or into a lifestyle of selfishness and lying. But it wasn’t a sudden fall. It took a thousand little compromises to harden the heart to the point that adultery or fornication was no longer a big deal, or to the point that lying becomes a way of life. A callous on the hand is produced by repeated blows.
The key to a strong walk with God is maintaining a sensitive heart to the Father. That means when we’re tempted by whatever, we immediately tell the Lord about what tempts us, and ask for His mercy and grace to help us. And if we yield to any kind of temptation and sin, we immediately repent by confessing the sin and turning away from it. He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse if we’ll only be real and honest.
Another key to a strong walk with God is maintaining fellowship in a local church and with fellow believers. Isolation breeds spiritual weakness and compromise. A coal by itself will lose its heat. Coals bundled together in your grill will stay hot for hours. Every time I’ve seen a believer stop attending church, I know danger is ahead. We need the strength of mentoring and fellowship brought by the sense of community in a local church. And we need the constant exposure to the strong tangible presence of God available when we gather together and to the anointed preaching and teaching of the Word.
If you fail to see a fellow believer in your regular services in your local church, pray for them and then give them a call of encouragement. We need the Word, we need each other, and we need to be real with ourselves before the Father.
The closer we get to the return of Jesus, the more we will need to keep our hearts sensitive to the Father and to each other!