I am so tired and weary of watching so many who are young make bad choices that ruin their lives, or at the very least profoundly affect their lives. I am not just talking about the proverbial “teenagers” we all bash. I am also talking those in their twenties, thirties and forties. And, yes those in their fifties can make the same mistakes. So this is not age specific.
But why? Why do people go along for years growing but then begin to hemorrhage and bleed to death spiritually?
Is it bitterness? Have life and circumstances so embittered us so that we lose love? We allow Satan to work in our hearts through bitterness so that he eats the very heart and soul out of us. Understand, bitterness is a choice! No one can make us bitter. Bitterness is a reaction to something that has happened. Maybe what happened was not pleasant. Maybe it went on for a long time. But still, we made the choice. We can choose not to be bitter.
Is it frustration? Has frustration become indifference? Has indifference produced a heart that is simply not touched any longer by God or His word? Oh, we may still go through the motions. Sometimes we get so jaded we do not even try to hide it any longer. We become more blatant without disappointment and discouragement.
The pattern is too familiar. At first there is real spiritual interest. The conscience is keen and easily touched. Then, over time it begins to get dull. It has been said, the conscience was a stone with three sharp edges. It would roll over and prick and cut, but over time the sharp edges were worn down so that they no longer were sharp or pointed enough to be effective. We can wear our conscience down so much that the choices we make, that affect us in a negative way, no longer cut us. A worn-down conscience will make it harder to do the right thing. Before we know it, we are numb to what once restrained us. We are no longer held back from the pursuit of our own selfish wants. Caution is thrown out and blatant openness begins to be seen. What is lost is the heart to even care. “I don’t care what others think.” Yes, we all do. Even the most jaded care. If we did not care, why do we say, “We don’t care”?
What can we do to restore the sensitivity needed to grow spiritually? First, we need to restore our heart. David said, “Create in me a clean heart.” (Psalm 51) It all begins with the heart. The heart must be made new, not simply renewed. The heart has been consumed by Satan. We need God. In a real way, not just, “we need God” sort of way. Next, David said, “Restore my soul.” His heart was not only affected, but his very soul, that which is in the image of God, was lost. He is saying, “God please make me like You.” When we become more like Satan than like God, we lose our soul. Next, God said He did not want more sacrifices, but a contrite heart. There needs to be a heart willing to repent; a change of mind once again about God and sin. When repentance has been repented of, godly sorrow is lost. Then the heart and soul are lost.
Here is the real kicker, the key to all this is: we must want to. We do what we want to do. If we want the world and our own wants more than God ‘s wants, then we will get what we want. But we need to beware lest our wants get the last word. There needs to be a real heart-palpitating, soul-shaking, knee-knocking fear of God; real fear of God who is a consuming fire. He will let us walk away if we want to. He will not stop us. But beware: Satan is going to seduce us so that we follow our own lust to our own destruction. It is really very simple. Do not go there!