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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Committed to God MARCH 3


[Jehosphaphat] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. But the hill-shrines were allowed to remain. 1 Kings 22:43, N.E.B

As to the general piety of King Jehoshaphat, the Bible writers leave no doubt. But he did not make a clean break with idolatry. Wrote James the brother of our Lord, "You who are double-minded, see that your motives are pure" (James 4:8, N.E.B.). The temptation is to be divided in mind. We amend our ways and our doings, yet cling to some aspect of sin. The eye is not single in its spiritual purpose.

It is possible to retain privately those evil practices we have renounced in public. Evils are removed outwardly only to be cherished in the inner life. Religious revivals may appear very impressive without being thorough. Sin is concealed rather than destroyed. Moral compromise tends to the concealment of sin. God cannot be pleased with revivals that simply remove sin into a less conspicuous place, where it is made to lose half of its wickedness before God. Iniquity is iniquity to Him whether done in the public eye or indulged under the cover of situational pressures and a softened terminology.

Often we deal softly with sinful habits, associations, pursuits, pleasures, which ought to be sacrificed forever. God will not be satisfied with less. Moses took the golden calf, burned it with fire, stamped upon it, ground it very small as dust, and then cast it into the river. As Christians we are to renounce sin both in conduct and in thought. Compromise has no place. Whatever pleasantness, fascination, and attraction may be associated with evil places, people, and pursuits, God requires that we make a clean break with them. We must not retain mentally what we have renounced in conduct. It frequently happens that the sins we once actually committed find asylum in our minds and hearts. For various reasons concessions are made to sinful thoughts. Excuses are made according to differing situations. Often men keep an evil imagination quite distinct from their active and outer life. The sensual mind can take the place of sensual practices, in which the mind may revel in sin. We have only concealed the sin that ought to have been totally destroyed.

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