November 25 I Wednesday

Ezekiel 24-26

1 Peter 2

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith...” —1 Timothy 4:1

The opening verse of this devotion paints a disheartening and sober picture that some will abandon the faith. Paul explains that their “consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). The Greek verb in this verse is kausteriazo, which describes a deadened conscience that leads one to live in hypocrisy, in a deliberate lie. I know some people who grew up in church, were solid through their teenage years, even through their young adult years, walking with Jesus and growing in their faith. Sadly, some of them have abandoned the faith for a lie.

A close friend of mine got married in his early twenties, but his marriage ended a few years later in a horrible divorce, where there was a lot of brokenness and pain. He started to date all kinds of people as he longed for a relationship; he was not choosy with whom he was dating and was exploring sexuality with different partners. I watched him slowly fall away from his walk with Christ to the point where he was embracing different teachings and faiths from around the world. As I stand back and look at my friend’s life, when he was young, I would never have imagined his life ending up this way.

Yet, the reality is that we have a real adversary, the devil, who likes to draw us away from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. The first time we commit a sin, our conscience alarms us, but if we do it repeatedly, it becomes a habit in our life. Sin has a cauterizing effect on our conscience. Eventually, our conscience goes silent and we drift further and further away from God.

I saw this pattern at play in some of the youth that I used to work with when I served in Urban Promise. We taught them Scripture and talked about Jesus and His plans for their lives. But so many of them would turn a deaf ear to the teachings of the Bible, become curious of the culture around them, start to make poor choices by dabbling in different drugs and getting into criminal and gang activities. Many of them ended up in prison and I would go there to meet with them.

Some of us may believe that we, or our friends or family, are too far gone in the poor choices made to return and be received by God. But just as the father in the parable of “The Prodigal Son” welcomed his son with open arms, our Heavenly Father welcomes us when we repent of our sinful ways and turn to Him.

Prayer: O Heavenly Father, I confess my sins and the poor choices that I have made in my life. I want to turn away from them and follow You. Thank You for welcoming me.

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