1. Billions of dollars are spent every year on anti-aging solutions. Yesterday, CNN reported a new testosterone cr?me that guarantees men greater youthful strength in the old age. However few people take into account the reality of human deteriorating forces. Paul once wrote, "Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16) Stephen cites the fact that the "Israelites turned back in their hearts toward Egypt" (Acts 7:39,40) The Jews were as guilty before God as if they had actually marched back into their former chains. Sin begins and grows within a human heart. Jesus said, "Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, anger, wrath, slander." (Matt. 15:19) Secret thoughts and motives are the root causes for why people allow themselves to deteriorate. The symptoms of deterioration may be seen in laziness, anger, jealousy, fighting, ineffectiveness, estrangement, lust, bitterness, resentment, conceitedness, slander or other self-destructive patterns. Only thoughts that seek to continue to speak the truth in love while growing up into all aspects into Christ will get better rather than start to experience deterioration. When oneâs thoughts deteriorate everything else tends to become worse, depreciate in value and sink in quality. Ask the Lord to help you to decide to get better in your thinking, beliefs, attitudes and actions rather than worse.
2. Stop trying to hide your hidden sins from God. Instead of trying to cover over your self-destructive thought patterns learn how to replace them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Recognize the root cause of your own problems. The Pharisees stubbornly failed to acknowledge their own sin to God and consequently experienced all kinds of internal and external deterioration. Ask the Lord to help you to confess your sins and forsake them. Experience the liberty of being set free from the powers of deterioration.
3. Realize that many people are fighting the forces of deterioration, but may be ashamed to ask for help. The Pharisees thought that by admitting their need for help they might lose everything. Assure people that whatever they surrender to God He will replace with something far better. Humbly teach the ways of finding liberation from the chains that bind through the empowering, enabling and instructing ministry of a Spirit controlled life.
4. Teach people how spiritual deterioration ends in misery, destruction and eternal regret. Many believers fail to grasp how terrible are the consequences of spiritual deterioration. The children of Israel were punished by having to wander in the desert for 400 years. Furthermore, the rebellious Israelites had to suffer under nearly 40 faulty rulers because of their spiritual immaturity. Their sin led them to a progressive deterioration of all kinds of idolatry. Ask the Lord to help you to worship the Lord with all facets of your personal, family, financial, educational, employment, social, physical, and spiritual choices to avoid the tendency toward idolatry. Choose to not conform to those who are making bad choices. We must choose to serve and worship God or we tend to serve and worship various forms of human financial, philosophical, or other idols.
5. Help people see that choices tend to form either good or bad habits. The probability of continuing to make healthy choices is very small indeed. Most people tend to sink into self-deteriorating patterns that they are not even aware of. Most Jews have suffered for nearly 3000 years because they have stubbornly refused to turn the controls of their lives to the Lord as the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God who knows what is best for every aspect of our lives. Ask the Lord to help you to trust and obey the Almighty one knowing He will save you from your own self-destructive ways that lead to deterioration of everything that is good, blessed and joyful.
6. Learn to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. (Rom. 12:9) Only when people learn to obey both of these commands are they able to escape spiritual, relational and work related deterioration. It is not enough to just do one and forget to do the other. Too many people subtly fall into the trap of deterioration until it is too late to change. Ask the Lord to help you to despise internal and external sin while growing in your love for God and His good choices, plans, and processes.