This is such a powerful message. Please, please read it to the end! I know there are some people that will read this today and they will ignore it because their hearts are already hard. They aren't thinking about spiritual matters or the condition of their soul, and the sad truth is, they are tired of hearing anyone speak truth because they don't want to feel condemned. They don't want to be told they need to change, try harder to 'be better' and they feel as if all their freedoms will be taken away if they submit to God. They aren't interested in what they perceive to be a boring "Christian" life. They don't care about anything except what they want right now. Some of these people even call themselves Christians. They go to church and may go through the motions but their hearts are far from Him. Here's a painful truth. Jesus said,
"These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." (Matthew 15:8)
This is what the Lord said in Isaiah 29:13 - "These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their reverence of Me consists of tradition..."
God called them hypocrites and declared their worship was in vain. Another painful truth, but can we be honest here? We're just not going to make any progress unless we can be honest between ourselves and God. I know, that one probably hurt a bit. Run and get the bandages; I'll wait!
Are you still with me? Friend, (and I do call you friend, because you're reading my blog!) anything done pretentiously is vanity. It's a form of fraud. Not only is it pointless, but living a lie is also a form of testing God. When we demand answers, or tell God that somehow He has to prove Himself to us, that's testing God. When we turn away and declare Him unfit to be Lord of our life, it's rejection. When we stubbornly refuse to obey with all sincerity, it's a form of rebellion. When we do something to place our own lives in jeopardy and then accuse Him of not taking care of us properly, that's a form of testing God. There are many ways we can end up testing God and perhaps not see it as such. Somehow, the enemy succeeded in spinning a lie that a person can live how they want and God will not hold them accountable. That is incorrect. Father is loving, He is gracious, very patient and always merciful, but even God has his limits. Those who are wise don't test them.
I read a quote today that I'd like to share. "If we ignore the Holy Spirit’s voice long enough and often enough, eventually we will become spiritually hardened and will no longer be able to hear Him when He does try to speak to us. It will be like His voice evaporates or dries up, and we will hear it no more." -- Rick Renner
That quote sparked this article. I just knew there are so many people in a far more dangerous place than they realize. Do you ever wonder how some people are in danger of losing their salvation and yet have this false sense of security that they are ok? The worst thing a person can do is neglect their salvation. That begins by neglecting their relationship with Holy Spirit. Wake up, wake up, wake up! That is how it starts. A casual attitude towards the Lord hardens the heart until the person is so desensitized that they no longer have a desire to truly repent. They no longer desire to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. This is rejection of the Holy Spirit. He will not stay where He is unwanted, unloved or unappreciated! Once He is gone, so is the person's guarantee of salvation.
I never want to judge someone else's relationship with God, but I can honestly say that I have known at least one or two people where God showed me very clearly that those individuals lost their salvation because of their rejection of Him. It was a slow, gradual process of them hardening their heart and justifying their own willful rebellion. Obedience became selective and rebellion became stronger. The fruit of the Holy Spirit became drastically diminished. Bad fruit became more evident, until the very God that they professed simply ceased to be evident in their life at all. And that is how you shall know what spirit really has taken up residence. Examine the fruit of a person's life and how they live. The fruit tells the story.
That is why no one should EVER harden their heart towards God. Never delay obedience, repentance, or the opportunity to wake up out of that spiritual slumber and make a conscious choice to invite Christ to be your Lord and Savior. Even if you have to start all over again. Do it today! None of us are promised tomorrow. When you keep your heart, your life and relationships in right standing with God, you have confidence towards Him and you know that when you pray, because of the covenant you have with Jesus, God will answer you.
The beautiful thing about God is that He is so very gracious. It is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance. It's not condemnation. It's not guilt, or manipulation. I do not want anyone to feel condemned. I want you to know that God's mercy is waiting for you! Do you know how good God is? Even when we are blind to our need for repentance, He can still get through to us! I had an experience with the Lord that I will share with you, just to give you an example how much He loves each one of us!
One day as I was driving down the road, I came to a stop light and saw a truck with a sign in the back window. It was so huge a person couldn't miss it! The sign said, "REPENT NOW!" I thought, wow, that is so clear and to the point! Instantly I had a fleeting thought pass through my mind, "But what if people don't know what they should repent for?" And just as quickly another thought that was also very clear. God reminded me of something that I had completely forgotten about. In that instant, He reminded me of what my intentions were, and what the lie of the enemy had been at that time. He also showed me that the enemy did not care one bit what my intentions were, only my actions, and my actions had produced an agreement in the spirit realm where I had unknowingly given the enemy access. I was shocked, then immediately knew what I had to do to make it right, and I did. I tell you, God is so very good. He does not want anyone to be in captivity or tricked by the enemy. Even when we're not aware of something, He can show us just how to move from a place of being guilty of sin, and helping to show us the way of escape so that the enemy is defeated! Can you agree that truth is our friend and should be embraced? Can you also agree that repentance is a good thing because it puts us back in right relationship with God where our prayers can be answered? YES and YES!!
So, my question is, why would anyone want to run away from the Lord? He really loves us so much! It's the enemy that tries to convince us that truth is a bad thing. Why would anyone want to run away from the truth that can set them free, or close the door to the devils that want to rob, steal and plunder our blessings? Why would anyone want to neglect such a great salvation? Running away from truth can get a person killed if they aren't careful. It can also cause one to lose their salvation if a person neglects their relationship with Holy Spirit. Spiritual decline is often such a slow process that the enemy hopes the person will never wake up from it. It's the frog in the pot philosophy. Once that door is open to the enemy, he has access to everything in the house!
God is infinitely good, and kind even when we don't deserve it. I pray that if you have been feeling down, frustrated, or apathetic towards the Lord, that today will be the day when you have a change of heart and seek Him in earnest once again. Le'ts stop believing the lies of the enemy and letting deceptive thoughts steer us away from the truth that can heal us. God does not use truth to condemn us, belittle us, shame us, or make us feel small and worthless. No, no, no - He does not! He speaks truth to us to show us where we have believed something the enemy told us so that we can get out of captivity and enjoy life again! Taste and see that the Lord is good! He loves you!
I repent for trying to avoid truth, and avoid the conviction to change. Forgive me for any areas of my heart and life where I have tested you. Forgive me and show me if there is something that I need to repent of. Give me a message that I can recognize and understand. Holy Spirit, please forgive me if I have pushed you away or neglected my relationship with you. I apologize for not honoring You and treating you with casual disregard. Please do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Create in me a clean heart and renew my relationship with you so that I can worship you in Spirit and in truth. In Jesus name, Amen.