I have to say it.
It's too good not to bring up. There is too much at stake if it's kept silent. It makes itself known in everything you do. It's there - always, in everything.
The heart. Your heart. My heart.
Not the stuff on the surface - not what you are doing or saying. It's deeper. It's not what we can see. That stuff, the stuff we can point to; the actions and words, that is simply the fruit and outworking of what is underneath. That is why this is so crucial.
Hebrews 3:12 says - "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God."
As Paul Tripp so pointedly shared with us in our time together, it is a slow progression that, if taken lightly, can sweep us down a path towards a numb heart, a heart that eventually falls away from God.
It's usually not the bright, loud and obvious but the subtle, quiet and secret. That is why its so dangerous. What we (I) don't always realize is that the continuous act of giving into subtle sin here and there erodes, undermines and chokes out our belief in Jesus. How? When we choose sin and self over Jesus we are convincing ourselves that what Jesus offers and promises isn't as good and true as what we are choosing. Every act of sin is a direct attack on our faith and satisfaction in Jesus. Sin has a way of deceiving us into believing that we can get from it what only God has the ability to give.
So what? How do we really know where we are in this progression? If we are being slowly blinded by the sin we are indulging in, how can we rightfully see?
I love, love, love what the next chapter says.
Hebrews 4:12-13 - "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the hearts."
Discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
[Insert Fire Emojis]
The Word of God is able to cut through the smoke and mirrors of our image-management and lay it all out to bare. It is able to cut through the layers of our deception. It is able to reveal to us things that we never would have realized on our own. That is how deceitful our hearts really are - even we don't know what is truly in them.
Here are two simple and necessary things to do:
1. Get around other Jesus-loving, Bible-reading people who are able to speak the truth in love to you. As they speak the Word of God, things that were once invisible will become visible. As Tripp mentioned, we can be blind to our own pitfalls and sin - so get around others who might be able to see what you cannot and voice the truth that is able to penetrate the deceitfulness of our own hearts.
2. Place the Word of God before your eyes continually. Let it be the mirror in which you look into in order to rightfully see reality. Place it before you constantly, daily - so that you never get too far down this path. Keep short accounts of your heart - let the truth of God's Word be constantly at work; digging up motives, bringing to light intentions, moving past the shallow surface of our actions that can so easily divert us from the real problems.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us why this is so important.
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."
It's not always cupcakes and rainbows.
Swords aren't cotton balls, they cut and they hurt.
But, the temporary pain of God's merciful truth is far less than the deep and potentially damning pain of an unbelieving heart.
Do the necessary work and guard your heart.