Mike Focht 9/29/2023
The devil has numerous ways to twist our thoughts for our own purposes. Most of the time, these thoughts are more assumed or felt than directly spoken. Often, we do not even know that we are thinking them until the Holy Spirit reveals to us just how unbiblical they actually are.
One common devilish thought of our day is this: The more spiritually mature I am, the more endurance for evil I possess. We may not state this directly, but we have assumed it as a life principle in our speech, actions, and especially our entertainment choices. We allow ourselves to willingly be exposed to all types of evil and consider the endurance of that evil a positive measuring stick of our godliness. We draw too much joy from things saturated with wickedness! We justify these actions by mentally surrendering to the idea that we would be negatively affected if we were less spiritual.
There are many dangers to this type of thinking.
First, it is always impossible to know how much any particular allowance of sin affects our spiritual life. Every sin seed that sown is destructive, no matter how small it may seem. Also, every sin seed sown will produce a harvest of bad fruit, not just a single bad fruit. There is no one-to-one ratio when it comes to sin.
Second, we ignore that the willingness to do something that might be displeasing to God is in itself a severe fault—it is one step away from direct disobedience. Justifications that allow me to walk where God will likely be displeased are like broken gates—they allow just about anything to pass. The heart is to be guarded and kept with all diligence! Imagine saying to any other friend, I thought this might make you unhappy, but I did it anyway.
Finally, the most dangerous angle to this devilish thought is the assumption—for it is a huge assumption—that spiritual maturity is displayed by the willing endurance of evil. True spiritual maturity is expressed not only by behavioral actions but also by desires. The desire to endure evil is not as spiritually mature as the desire to rejoice in what is good. The genuinely godly man or woman is being conformed to God’s image and likeness, and God clearly tells us what He thinks of good and evil!
We are familiar with what God loves, but we often forget that the Bible declares what God hates: idolatry, child sacrifice, violence, a proud look, a lying tongue, murder, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness, the abuse of the poor and widowed, one who sows discord, bribes, divorce, sexual immorality, covetousness, religious motions without sincere heart engagement, etc.
True godliness cannot be measured by indulging in and enduring evil. That type of endurance is evil endurance. True godliness is the organic growth of love and hate, joy and grief, and praise and condemnation in the individual heart. All godly hatred will be fed and balanced by a holy delight in all that rejoices God’s heart, such as love, peace, surrender, faithfulness, and all that is virtuous, beautiful, true, and praiseworthy.
Do not be deceived! Enduring evil is not a mark of spiritual maturity. It may very well be Satan’s foothold into your life to produce new types of sinful actions, thoughts, and desires. Ask the Holy Spirit to stir in you love for what He loves and hate for what He hates. Seek to be conformed to God’s image in body, mind, and heart. Do not be deceived into evil endurance.