James Dolan knows what it means to live in a prison of his own making. Dolan was a wealthy building contractor in New York and one of his construction projects was the Tombs prison. After completing the prison, Dolan was convicted of forgery and sentenced to serve time…in the very prison he built.
Sin is deceitful and only entraps us.
When sin becomes repetitive, it makes us hard as individuals. The Greek word for hard is sclero…a term we’re familiar with in medicine. When we become hard as individuals, we become less responsive to God, less sensitive to His leading. Each time we sin, we not only further separate ourselves from God, we also make ourselves less able to respond to His call for repentance.
The sins that cause us to become hardened may be obvious, or they may be subtle. They may be actions or attitudes we clearly recognize as sin, or because of their subtlety, we may be deceived into thinking they are not sins.
The only way to really know our sin is to remain open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. An excellent cleansing habit to develop is spending time early each day asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind your sins of the previous day. This requires time to patiently wait on the Spirit each day. It also requires being open to acknowledge as sin whatever the Spirit brings to mind.
What a privilege we have to be able to then immediately confess that sin and receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
This important exercise will serve two functions. First of all, we will remain sensitive to the Lord and His leading, avoiding the problem of hardness of heart. Second, the Lord will reveal the areas in our life where we need to be working…the areas of subtle sins that deceive us.
Finally, the writer tells us to exhort one another. Help your colleagues and fellow believers develop the same habit so that they can also avoid hardness of heart.
Prayer: Lord help me see all of my sins each day so that I can confess them to You, keeping my heart soft toward You.