Previously: Guard your heart with all diligence
We saw that not knowing what is true and what is a lie, because we neither know or understand the word and power of God, is the first tactic the enemy uses to deceive even the elect if possible. But the deceitfulness of sin is another favorite tool the enemy wields against the Church.
"But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
When we indulge in sin, we harden our hearts. A young and supple tree yields before the wind when it blows across it, but a gnarly old tree does not. A strong wind will not break a young tree, but it very well might a mature one. The difference between them is their degree of hardness.
A soft heart yields to the voice of the Lord, a hard heart does not. So when we sin, we have not yielded to the voice of the Lord God telling us not to turn aside to the right hand, or to the left, and we get a little harder as a result. That is the deceitfulness of sin – thinking that the love we have for God, and the soft toward God and yielded state we are in right now will still be with us after we indulge in whatever sin. The harder our hearts get, the more difficult it is for us to hear His voice. And if our hearts have been long hardened by consistent rebellion against Him, we can one day cross the boundary from a hard heart to a darkened one. A darkened heart is blinded and cannot see the truth.
Sin also deceives us into thinking that we can indulge in it today, and repent tomorrow. You know, today is yesterday’s tomorrow, and if we are still indulging in a secret sin today, then we have not repented "tomorrow." Why did we indulge today, and not repent today, when we told ourselves yesterday that we would? Because when we indulge in sin, our hearts get tied into it. The more we do it, the less we will want to repent, and the more we will want to indulge in it tomorrow.
Here is another classic deceit of sin. Let’s say some notion of sin pops into our head. If we do not immediately take that notion captive to the obedience of Christ (who is the Living Word), and reject the possibility of it, then a further notion might follow it. "It won’t be so bad, it won’t hurt anyone as the Scriptures say it will, and besides, how can it hurt someone if they never find out about it?" Boy, is this tactic of the enemy old; notice how Satan uses it on Eve in the Garden:
"The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!" Genesis 3:4
A further deceit is, once we are entrapped in a sin, and we continue in it, it can cause us to think that we are rich and in need of nothing, when in fact we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Only, because of the deception of the sin, we are completely unaware of our true state.
How do we avoid becoming ensnared in one of the deceitfulness of sin? Do not sin! If we have sinned, repent and turn! Obey the voice of the Lord our God, and yield our will and our hearts to Him, and we will not be deceived by sin; then seeing, we can clearly perceive truth from error by the guidance of the Holy Spirit within us.
To be continued …
Update: continued in The devil loves our attention … on him