I got a root canal the other day. When I sat in the chair for them to begin the medieval torture, they told me they would give me laughing gas to help me relax. I laid back in the chair and the doctor began to give me a series of shots in my mouth, but despite the gas, I was nervous, anxious and fretful. I wanted out of there, out of that chair, out of that room, out of that building. I was horrified and wanted to get as far away from him and what he was doing to me as I could.
After a few moments, my mouth began to get numb but my heart was still racing because I knew what he was about to do in there. The thought of it still made me fretful and anxious. But by the time he began to work on my tooth, the gas mask had been on my face long enough for its effects to begin to take place. My body eventually began to relax. I was still concerned about what was going on inside my mouth, but I was no longer tense and fretful about it. Then after a while, I no longer cared about what he was doing to me. Nothing had changed about the procedure, the horror of what was taking place was still being played out in my mouth, but I was unconcerned and unbothered, content to sit there and suck on that gas mask. In less than thirty minutes, I went from horrified about my condition to completely unconcerned and content.
This is what happens to us spiritually when we allow sin into our lives. All sin, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, should make us want to get as far away from it as we can. That is why the enemy of our souls works unceasingly to devise subtle ways to desensitize us towards sin, so he can accomplish his signature move: to get us to rebel against God in ways of disobedience that seem reasonable and justified. When we make a conscious decision to justify or excuse our disobedience, we make a conscious decision to allow the enemy to do his work on us. Then after a while, things that should horrify and repulse us, we are content and unconcerned about.
As Christians, we should have a revulsion in our spirit towards sin because of the influence of God’s Holy Spirit at work in us. But over time, as we turn a deaf ear to God’s voice and refuse to surrender in obedience to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, we will eventually succumb to the influence of the devil’s work upon our flesh over God’s work in our spirit. And even though certain sins may still make us fretful or anxious, our enemy is able to easily consume us with distraction. We end up in a state in which we are much more inclined to surrender to the enemy, rather than surrender to God.
Scripture plainly tells us, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). But far too many of us are submitting to the enemy, instead of submitting to God. Scripture tells us to “resist the devil”, but far too many of us are resisting God, instead of resisting the enemy. We resist the enemy by submitting to God.
Not only are we called to defensive action by resisting the devil, we are also called to offensive action by standing against him:
–“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph 6:11)
-“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Eph 6:13)
–“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..” (1 Pet 5:8,9)
The rest of the scripture at James 4:7 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8). This scripture is telling us to submit to God and resist the devil. To draw near to God and He will draw near to you. To cleanse our lives of worldly things that only serve as distractions to God’s kingdom work. To purify our hearts with obedience to God and His word, so that we will not be reaching out for Christ with one hand and holding on to the world with the other.
Resist the enemy of your soul, get as far away from his work as you can, lest he make you numb to his schemes. Even a little bit is too much because it accumulates over time until you find yourself unconcerned, unbothered and content about things that we, as Christians, should find repulsive to our spirit.