The tempted and divided heart

This is the sad picture of a backslider. One eye is beginning to close, showing that he is beginning to grow cold and sleepy in his Christian life, while the other eye is shamelessly looking around, making love to the world. The light inside has grown dim, and the pictures in his heart, showing his readiness to suffer with Christ, have fallen and are no longer upright. He is surrounded by temp tations to which he is slowly giving in instead of resisting them. Instead of listening to God’s voice he now begins to listen to the devil’s cunning suggestions and false promises. Although he may still be a church-goer, hiding his desires for the things of the world under a form of religion, the love for God has grown cold in his heart. He has become undecided, standing still between two ways. He begins to play with the things of the world, and only pretends to love God. The star in his heart, the conscience, grows dim. The cross is no longer carried with a smile, but becomes an unwelcome, heavy load. His faith begins to shake, he stops communicating with God in prayer, becomes unconcerned and careless about his heart’s condition and slowly makes room for the devil who is waiting outside his heart. He enjoys the company of sinful people more than the company of true children of God.

The peacock, representing pride, begins to look for a way in again. He may have forgotten that he was saved by grace alone, and becomes a proud Christian. The desire for drinking alcohol knocks at the door and wants to come in. It may be on a special occasion, in the company of sinful friends, where he is ashamed to be thought different, a weakling, or unsociable, that the devil tells him that this one occasion will not hurt his spiritual life. Unspiritual thoughts and desires make themselves felt. Perhaps he begins to enjoy dirty jokes, to look again and again with pleasure at indecent pictures, and enjoy the wrong company, going to dance-halls, evil worldly entertainments, taking to heart sinful suggestions from the devil who tells him that this is human nature and that one sin is not really wrong.

Truly, we cannot help it if the wild birds of evil and bad thoughts fly over our heads, but we are guilty if we allow them to control us and make their nests in our hearts, breeding out their evil deeds. If we give the devil our little finger, he is sure to grab the whole hand, dragging soul and spirit into, everlasting hell. Therefore God’s earnest warning to us, is to avoid the passions of youth and not to play with sin, no matter in what way it may come. Run to Jesus, the protector and defender.

The man seen in this picture stabbing the heart with a dagger, speaks of those who mock and resist Christianity. With their false tongues and mocking lips they stab and wound the hearts of Chris tians – attacks which a devided heart cannot survive. He begins to fear men more than God and because of fear of what man will say and do, he becomes the slave of men, and drifts away from God. Anger and bad temper show themselves in times of trouble and disappointments, and force their way in. That evil snake of jeal ousy, which appears when others are more successful and prosper ous, will creep in without warning, and if given half a chance, will open the door to hatred and pride.

It is so easy for the love of money to creep into our hearts unless we obey the warnings of our Lord Jesus when He says, “Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). “Whoever thinks he is standing firm had better be careful that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). We must put on all the armour that God gives us, so that we will be able to stand up against the devil’s evil tricks (Eph. 6:11-18).