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Psalm 36 is David’s reflection on the wicked man’s character contrasted with the character of God and God’s love and concern for His own. As we look at the first part of this psalm, we need to ask for the Spirit of God to show us the true nature of our own hearts.
Actions show the heart
Very few people acknowledge that they are caught up in sin and evil. However, our actions show the true state of our hearts. We may try to gloss over our sins with statements about how much we fear God, but our transgressions show that we do not fear God at all.
The Hebrew phrase here for flattery literally refers to smoothing over one’s conscience. In essence pride begins to grow within us, and this pride manifests itself in us justifying our actions. This is in our eyes only of course, but our pride convinces us that we are the only ones who can truly see. This flattering of ourselves smooths over our conscience so that we do not even see the sin we are actively engaged in. We deceive ourselves into thinking that our hearts are in the right place.
Hiding the true intentions of our sin
As we flatter ourselves, we can begin to believe the lies our heart tells us. We can begin to believe that our sinful actions are actually loving. We can become blind to the hatred that is seen by our sinful actions towards God and others.
Words become loose
As we begin to drift away from God we begin to become loose with our tongues. Our words are not as precise or honest as they should be. As we deceive ourselves in our own pride this self-deception begins to slip out of our mouths. We begin to become crass with our speech, less gracious, and more accusatory of others.
Not seeking wisdom
In our pride we begin to look down on others. No one is able to speak into our lives or correct us. No one is as righteous as us. No one possesses the knowledge we possess. Because of this, we stop seeking counsel and advice. We go at it alone.
Stopping good things
Ever so gradually we cease doing the good things we once did. Church attendance begins to wane. Devotions begin to be forgotten. Family worship diminishes. Hospitality, generosity to the poor, our prayer life, fasting, etc. all will begin to slowly fade away. This should be a major warning sign that all is not well with our souls. We believe that because we have not committed anything that we are right with God even though we have omitted countless things He has commanded us to do.
Meditating on inconsequential things
Instead of focusing on Christ, His glory, His Word, prayer, etc. we begin to focus on the wrongs of others. We begin to focus on things that really do not matter; however, in our self-deception we believe that they are all that matters. We literally make mountains out of molehills; specks in other’s eyes become beams.
Walking the wrong road
The trajectory of our lives begins to change. We no longer spend time with the same people (why should we, they are beneath us!) We begin to change the trajectory of our lives away from Christ’s Kingdom and onto more worldly pursuits. Our paths have changed, but we are too blinded by our self-righteous pride to see it. We actually begin to believe that walking away from Christ is actually following Him more.
Not hating sin as much
Sin very quickly begins to lose its horrid appearance. We flirt with it more and tolerate it more. What was once abhorrent begins to seem normal to us. We are desensitized to sin.
We have become very poor in our dealing with souls. We have neglected to understand how the Spirit of God brings about change within someone’s life. The same goes as it relates to sin. We have not applied ourselves to understand how we fall deeper and deeper into sin. David here gives us multiple warning signs that our lives are going off the rails.
Do you see any of these warning signs in your life?
Will you come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and transformation?