Avoiding A Hardened Conscience
Avoiding a Hardened Conscience
with Dr. R.C. Sproull
We are warned not to allow ourselves to become hardened, because if we look at the whole concept of hardening in its biblical perspective, we see that something happens to us through repeated sins. Our consciences become seared. The more we commit a particular sin, the less remorse we feel from it. Our hearts are recalcitrant through repeated disobedience.
When God hardens the heart, all He does is step away and stop striving with us. For example, the first time I commit a particular sin, my conscience bothers me. In His grace, God is convicting me of that evil. God is intruding into my life, trying to persuade me to stop this wickedness. If He wants to harden me, all He has to do is to stop rebuking me, stop nudging me, and just give me enough rope to hang myself.
We see in Scripture that when God hardens hearts, He does not force people to sin; rather, He gives them their freedom to exercise the evil of their own desires (James 1:13-15).
Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God
Pray this prayer with the psalmist David: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23-24).
For Further Study
James 1:13-15: "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."
The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343. © R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved
The Love Test
by Max Lucado
Have you ever made decisions about your relationships based on your feelings instead of the facts? When it comes to love, feelings rule the day. Emotions guide the ship. Goose bumps call the shots. But should they? Can feelings be trusted? Can a relationship feel right but be wrong?
Feelings can fool you. Yesterday I spoke with a teenage girl who is puzzled by the lack of feelings she has for a guy. Before they started dating, she was wild about him. The minute he showed interest in her, however, she lost interest.
I’m thinking also of a young mom. Being a parent isn’t as romantic as she anticipated. Diapers and midnight feedings aren’t any fun, and she’s feeling guilty because they aren’t. Am I low on love? she wonders.
How do you answer such questions? Ever wish you had a way to assess the quality of your affection? A DNA test for love? Paul offers us one: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6 NIV). In this verse lies a test for love.
Want to separate the fake from the factual, the counterfeit from the real thing? Want to know if what you feel is genuine love? Ask yourself this:
Do I encourage this person to do what is right? For true love “takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6 JB).
If you find yourself prompting evil in others, heed the alarm. This is not love. And if others prompt evil in you, be alert.
Here’s an example. A classic one. A young couple are on a date. His affection goes beyond her comfort zone. She resists. But he tries to persuade her with the oldest line in the book: “But I love you. I just want to be near you. If you loved me …”
That siren you hear? It’s the phony-love detector. This guy doesn’t love her. He may love having sex with her. He may love her body. He may love boasting to his buddies about his conquest. But he doesn’t love her. True love will never ask the “beloved” to do what he or she thinks is wrong.
Love doesn’t tear down the convictions of others. Quite the contrary.
“Love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1).
“Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light and will not cause anyone to stumble” (1 John 2:10).
“You are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong” (1 Cor. 8:12 NLT).
Do you want to know if your love for someone is true? If your friendship is genuine? Ask yourself: Do I influence this person to do what is right?
From A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Sunday, August 08, 2010