Matthew 15:19-20a ESV
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
What is meant here by the heart? The heart (kardia in Greek) is also translated as mind, character, inner self, will, and the center of our being. It is also the capacity of moral preference, our “desire decisions” that establish who we really are (1).
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 ESV
So, whatever we allow into our minds and hearts gets stored there unless we pull away from those things and we don’t repeat them. Whatever we entertain in our minds and embrace in our hearts and produce through our actions, and is repeated, gets stored in our hearts. And, what is stored there is what we think about, what we desire, and what we produce.
So, for example, a person who has spent many years looking at pornography, his or her mind would be filled with lust, adultery, sexual immorality, perversion, hatred, abuse, lying, the devaluing of others, pride, and deception and the like. Since these things are stored up in his heart, this is what will be produced through his attitudes, his words, and his actions.
And, the longer he continues to entertain such things in his (or her) mind and heart, the more ingrained those thoughts, values, morals, beliefs, and perceptions will become who he is in character, in personality, in belief, and in attitude, and the more it will continue to produce wicked behaviors.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”
When these things keep getting repeated over many years, and if that person does not listen to God, and does not heed the counsel of God, but if he keeps ignoring God, and if he keeps yielding to his flesh, and if he does not truly repent of his sin or submit to Christ as Lord, he will keep repeating the same attitudes, the same thinking, and the same behaviors habitually.
And, since he is repeatedly giving in to the control of Satan over his life, and not to the control of God, and if he is listening to worldly counsel and fleshly teaching that says he can be saved from his sins and be bound for heaven, but that he can keep on sinning without consequence, then at some point in his life, perhaps even early on, his conscience will be seared.
And, when this happens, his heart will be hardened, and he won’t feel guilt or shame for his sin, for his senses will be numbed, and he will be able to do all kinds of evil against others without even feeling bad about it.
And, yet he may profess faith in Jesus Christ and give a pretense of righteousness to cover-up for all the evil still going on within his mind and heart, which is being acted out through his wicked behaviors.
And, this comes about through a process of desensitization. If we, for example, watch an inappropriate movie or TV show, and even though we know it is wrong, we do it again, and again, and we keep repeating the same behaviors, then we will learn to accept a little more compromise and then another and another, and pretty soon we won’t even be convicted about the things that may have once convicted our hearts.
Soon our sense of right and wrong gets muddied to the point to where we no longer distinguish between good and evil. It isn’t that we don’t know the difference, but we no longer have a conscience about it, so it is much easier to just give in to it. And, this comes about through suppression of truth by repeated acts of unrighteousness. And, it comes about by repeatedly ignoring God and choosing to go our own way, instead (Rom. 1:18-32).
1 John 1:5-7 ESV
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
So, we need to get this truth here. If we are claiming faith in Jesus Christ, and if we believe we are in fellowship with God, and him with us, but if we have seared consciences through repeatedly ignoring God and his word, and by repeatedly yielding to Satan and to the flesh, the Bible says we are liars who don’t live by the truth.
We can’t live in habitual sin against God, doing so repeatedly, with seared consciences that allow us to do what we know is against God, and claim we are in fellowship with God. It is a lie we are believing, and it is a lie we are telling ourselves and others, too. For, the flesh and the Spirit are at war with each other. They don’t mix!
In other words, we can’t walk in darkness and in the light at the same time. They are opposites. We are either going left or we are going right, but we can’t do both at the same time. They are incompatible with each other.
From Darkness to Light
So, how do we move from walking in the darkness to now walking in the light? How do we go from having seared consciences to being genuinely remorseful over our sins to the point of genuine repentance?
Is it possible? Yes! But only as we yield control of our lives over to God, and we submit to the Lordship of Christ, and we turn from our sins, and we walk in obedience to our Lord, by God-given faith in Jesus Christ.
But we can’t do this in the flesh. We can’t suddenly be a good person if we have seared consciences which allow us to keep on doing evil, and which continue to lead us to resist God and his word. We can’t go back and forth between good and evil, either, like riding on a seesaw.
The only way we can have clear consciences, and walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, is if we surrender our lives to Jesus and we allow him to transform our hearts and minds and to make us like him.
We must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in his power and strength. Our dependency must be on him and not on ourselves.
But if we don’t have changed minds and hearts, we are not going to be able to conquer the evil that may be in our hearts. If we still have seared consciences, we are going to keep repeating the same old behaviors as before. We must yield to God and let him take control, and we must listen to his counsel, and we must do what he says.
Daily we must die to sin and self and daily we must put on the armor of God and fight off that enemy of our souls and allow God to change us from the inside out. And, then we must daily walk according to the Spirit in the power of God (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 6:10-20; Rom. 8:1-17).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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