What’s Missing In Our Evangelism (It’s Not What You Think)

It is incontestably true that, with the exception of Jesus, the apostle Paul made the deepest spiritual impact upon the world and spread the gospel further than anyone else in history. It is also fair to say that, as believers, we all have a desire to transform our world and reach lost souls the same way Paul did. But, as painful as it is to admit, it is observably true that we are not doing so for the most part. So, what are we missing in our evangelism? Why aren’t we impacting the world like Paul did? 

We have a plethora of evangelistic resources and tools at our disposal—much more than Paul had—so that’s not the problem. We mostly know how to share the gospel with sinners who will listen, so that’s not the issue. And, we certainly have ample opportunities and plenty of “open doors” to proclaim the gospel every week, so that’s not the hang-up either. What we don’t have oftentimes is the heart Paul had. 

What we need in order to reach the world like Paul is a burning and broken heart—a heart that burns hot for God’s glory, and one that is broken and shattered for the sinfulness of man. That’s the heart Paul possessed, and it drove him to evangelize a place as depraved as Athens, Greece. Paul was consumed by a conviction that compelled him to preach the gospel and point idolatrous sinners to the only God who is worthy of worship:

“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.  So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him” (Acts 17:16-18)

As soon as Paul arrived in Athens, he wasn’t struck by the alluring ancient architecture; he was struck by the awful idolatry that filled the streets. “The city was full of idols,” Luke says. In Greek, this literally means the city streets were “smothered in idols.” And people who passed through Athens confirmed this, as they would often say that it was easier to find a god than a man. 

Athens was an idol-factory that never ceased operations. Temples to mythical gods towered thousands of feet high. Every street corner had an altar. Marble busts depicting every fictitious deity imaginable were almost innumerable. And, at the sight of this, Paul was “provoked” within his spirit.

His heart simultaneously erupted in righteous indignation and fractured into a thousand pieces. He was enraged that wood and stone idols were given glory that belongs to God (cf. Deut. 9:7), and he was saddened because he knew that all sinners are hopelessly enslaved to such idolatry. And a burning and broken heart drove him to proclaim the gospel—the only remedy for sinners steeped in perverted idolatry. 

Thus, Luke says: “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him” (vv. 17-18a).

Paul did not raid temples or topple idols. He didn’t grab robes or protest in the streets. And most importantly, he didn’t stand idly by while people sailed merrily to eternal torment. Instead, he patiently and boldly preached the gospel to anyone who would listen.

He “reasoned” with the Jews, proving to them that Jesus was the Christ, just as he had done in many other cities. He conversed with people in the public marketplace, engaging in street evangelism with pedestrians. And he debated the philosophers of the day, arguing that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life (cf. John 14:6).

Here’s the bottom line: Paul saw sinners the way they truly were, and it compelled him to impact the world for Christ and proclaim the gospel to every listening ear. And thus, we have the missing ingredient in our evangelism. If we want to transform the world the way Paul did, we must speak the way Paul spoke. If we desire to speak the way Paul did, we must feel the way he felt about the world. And, if we want to feel the way Paul felt, we must see the way Paul saw the world: steeped in idolatry and in need of redemption from the Lord.

Seeing the world’s pitiful idolatry through biblical eyes is what fuels our zeal to point lost sinners to the only God who is worthy of worship.

How do you see your unsaved family, friends, and neighbors? Do you see them the same way Paul saw the world? Do you see them as helplessly and hopelessly enslaved to idolatry? That’s the conviction that will compel you to proclaim the gospel to a place as sinful and unreachable as Athens.

Holy Hatred | Bible Gleanings – September 17-18, 2022

Christians should be filled with hate. That’s right—there is a kind of hatred that should characterize all those who love God. As a matter of fact, it is a hatred that God loves. It is a holy hatred for evil, and God expects all of His children to possess and express it. As the Scripture says, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9b). 

To abhor evil is to be nauseated and appalled by wickedness, whether it is committed by the evil society or the evil sinner looking back at you in the mirror. Holy hatred entails running from iniquity rather than toward it. Abhorrence involves looking away from sin instead of upon it. It is possessing the same “righteous repulsion” that arrested David’s heart: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil” (Psalm 101:2-3). 

Those who love God with all their heart will naturally detest and despise what is unholy because it is impossible to love God and evil at the same time. As John the apostle wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Moreover, the more you love God, the more you will love what He loves and hate what He hates—and He loves righteousness and hates evil. As the psalmist declared, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4).

And, in order to hate what is evil, we must “hold fast to what is good.” That is, we must be cleave to all that is good and never let it slip from our hands. We must clinch onto the good word of God, the holy Scriptures (cf. Psalm 119:103-104). We must cling to good people, the holy saints (cf. Hebrews 3:12-13). And we must clasp the hands of faith onto the holy God who is good (cf. Psalm 34:8).

May the stance of our hearts be the first stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “The Things My God Doth Hate,” which beautifully says: 

“The things my God doth hate,

That I no more may do,

Thy creature, Lord, again create,

And all my soul renew;

My soul shall then, like thine,

Abhor the thing unclean,

And sanctify’d thy love divine,

For ever cease from sin.”

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Testimony | Bible Gleanings – September 10-11, 2022

He was one of the most effective missionaries in history, and we don’t even know his name. He had no formal theological training and had never read any books about evangelism and missions. In fact, he never even owned a Bible! He didn’t implement “guaranteed-to-succeed” strategies nor did he build a magnificent megachurch. And yet, he won hundreds of souls to Christ and transformed an entire city with only one thing: his testimony.

He was the former demoniac from the “country of the Gerasenes,” and his life was markedly and magnificently changed after one momentous moment with the Master, Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). After spending only an hour or two at the feet of Jesus, the man was left behind as a witness to broadcast his newfound faith and testimony to his hometown. “Go home to your friends,” said the Lord, “and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). Jesus returned to the region some time later, but found the Gerasenes begging Him to stay rather than begging Him to leave, which they had done previously (cf. Mark 5:17; 7:32). And undoubtedly, the city’s undeniable shift from rejection to acceptance of Jesus was due to the man’s verbal and visible testimony, for “he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39b).

Never underestimate the arresting power of your personal testimony—it might change your whole neighborhood. Tell people verbally what Jesus has done for you, and show people visibly what Jesus has done for you. Say with the psalmist David,

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10).

Opening your mouth to speak is only natural if God has opened your heart to believe. After being cleansed, the former leper zealously spread the good news of Jesus’ cleansing touch (Mark 1:45). After his ears were opened, the ex-deaf man proclaimed the gospel to anybody who would listen (Mark 7:36). After the Samaritan Woman met Jesus at Jacob’s well, she evangelized her entire neighborhood (John 4:39). And even the man from Gerasa bore witness about Jesus, although all he had was a testimony.  

“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child, and forever, I am.” — Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It (Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915)

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Beggars | Bible Gleanings – Sept 3-4, 2022

A proficient painter once sought to portray the Bible’s “prodigal son” in a pastel painting. He searched every asylum, prison, and soup kitchen to find a man ragged enough to embody the prodigal, but he was unsuccessful. One day, as he was walking home he encountered a poor beggar curled up on the street. The man was disheveled, dirty, and destitute—the ideal candidate for the painting. The artist approached him and offered payment in exchange for being painted as a model, and the beggar agreed.

When the day came, a clean-shaven man in a crisp suit and tie stood in the studio. When the artist asked who he was, the stranger reminded him, “You made an appointment with me, remember?” “Sir, I’ve never seen you before in my life,” replied the painter. “Yes, it’s me!” said the man. “You wanted me to meet you here at ten o’clock!” To which the painter explained, “You must be mistaken; I was to see a beggar here at this hour.” “I am he!” said the man, “I just thought I would dress myself up a bit before I got painted.” And the painter said, “No, no, no! I didn’t want you dressed up and perfect; I wanted you just as you were.”1

And the same can be said of the God who painted the constellations upon the canvas of the heavens. God does not command us to “clean up” and make ourselves presentable before we approach Him. He does not expect us to come to Him adorned in the polished suit of religious works. The Lord doesn’t want you to be embellished in religious makeup or doused in the perfume of piety. He calls you to come to Him just as you are, as a bankrupt beggar in need of the riches found in Christ Jesus.

We have all wallowed like swine in the mire of iniquity, and we reek of sin’s stench. Even so, God urges us to come to Him in repentance to be washed in Christ’s blood and clothed in His robes of white (cf. Luke 15:15-22; Revelation 3:5). Our account of righteousness doesn’t contain a penny of God-glorifying works, either (Matthew 5:3). And yet, Jesus calls us to bring Him an empty cup so that He may fill it with the “unsearchable riches” of His gospel (Ephesians 3:8). The Lord’s invitation to all spiritual beggars is this: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price . . . Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:1, 6-7).

  1. D. L. Moody was the first to tell this story.
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

An Everlasting Kingdom | Bible Gleanings – August 27-28, 2022

He lacerated backs with leather lashes and lacerated hearts with loathsome words of mockery. Flavius Julianus (also known as “Julian the Apostate”) was an emperor of Rome (AD 361-363) who reinstated pagan worship and ruthlessly persecuted Christians. One day, Flavius tried to show off in front of his pals by taunting a believer named Agaton. “So, how is your carpenter of Nazareth?” he derided. “Is he finding work these days?” And without hesitation, Agaton replied, “He is perhaps taking time away from building mansions for the faithful to build a coffin for your empire.”

Agaton was right; the Roman Empire burned to the ground a little more than a century later. Earthly empires rise and fall, but only one kingdom shall stand forever: the kingdom of God. It cannot crumble because it is “unshakeable” (Heb. 12:28). It cannot be conquered because its Ruler is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). And it will outlast all earthly kingdoms because it is spiritual, eternal, and “other-worldly” (1 Cor. 15:50; John 18:36).

Right now, the Sovereign Lord is building coffins for the thrones of the wicked and the empires of evil. As the prophet Daniel declared, God is setting up “a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall [it] be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). When the Carpenter drives the last nail into the coffins of judgment, He will return to fill them. The heavenly hosts will shout on that day, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15b).

To be a citizen of this everlasting kingdom, you must bow to the King, Jesus Christ. As the psalmist admonished, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). You must humble yourself like a child, recognizing your helplessness and dependence on His saving grace. For Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15).

And all who belong to His everlasting kingdom may cheerfully croon the words of the great hymn, A Child of the King:

“I once was an outcast stranger on earth,

a sinner by choice and an alien by birth;

But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,

an heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.

I’m a child of the King, a child of the King:

with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.”

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Saving the World | Bible Gleanings – August 20-21, 2022

Stephen Colbert, current host of The Late Show (and erstwhile comedian), once made an insightful remark while speaking at a graduation commencement. “You can change the world,” he told the graduates. “Please don’t do that, OK? Some of us like the way things are going now.” Colbert was saying more than he realized, for even the Scripture declares that the world is set in its ways and has no plans to change. 

According to Jesus, the world refuses to come to the light because it loves to hide in the darkness. He said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). The world also rests comfortably in the hands of its puppeteer, Satan (1 John 5:19). And those who belong to this world are dancing merrily down the wide and easy path that leads to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13). 

Continuing along the current course is the last thing this world needs. The world will be strangled by the choking thorns of worldliness if it remains entangled in sin (Matthew 13:22). God’s judgment awaits if the world will not change its ways (Isaiah 13:11; Romans 3:19). And this world will perish along with all those who “like the way things are going” (1 John 2:15-17). The world needs salvation from its spiritual plight, and that’s why Jesus came into the world.

“For God so loved the world,” Jesus promised, “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). When you believe in Christ, He saves and changes you—and He changes the world through you. He transforms you so that you no longer fit into the world’s pattern (Romans 12:1-2). And He “crucifies” your love for worldly things (Galatians 6:14).

This gospel is for the whole world (Mark 16:15). “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,” said Paul, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15a). One day, Christ will return to set the world aright (2 Peter 3:10). The heavenly host will exclaim on that day: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15a). It is, therefore, the duty of those who are “not of the world” to prepare a welcome place for Him by turning the world upside down (John 15:19; Acts 17:24).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

An Unusual Noise | Bible Gleanings – August 13-14, 2022

During the American Civil War, an officer reportedly complained to his general that some of the troops in their camp were making too much racket as they prepared for combat. “What are they doing?” asked the general. “They are praying now, but they have been singing,” the officer said. “And is that a crime?” he asked. “Well,” said the complainer, “the articles of war order punishment for such an unusual noise.” And the general famously replied, “God forbid that praying should be an unusual noise in the camp!”

Prayer should never be an unusual noise, especially among those in the camp of the Lord’s army. Most of the time, our prayers resemble a quick voicemail, an occasional drive-thru order, or a brief pleasantry exchanged with an acquaintance. However, prayer ought to be a saint’s steady song. Believers are called to “pray without ceasing,” and to fill heaven’s golden censer with the “incense” of our prayers to the point of overflowing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Revelation 8:3-4). And, we are commanded to “pray at all times” as we march to war against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:18).

The Lord welcomes and blesses such praying. As James assured, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). The “I’m-not-giving-up-no-matter-what” kind of praying is what God rewards. Unfortunately, we frequently miss out on the rain of God’s blessing because we haven’t rattled heaven’s windows open with the reverberation of constant prayer. God stands ready to answer our prayers, but we must stand ready to offer them. 

Soldiers of the Lord, we must fill our camps with the constant anthem of desperate and bold prayer, or we shall have no chance of victory in our warfare against the flesh, the world, and the devil. We must say with the psalmist, “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:2). And may infrequent and irregular prayer be what is truly unusual to us!

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Prisoners of Sin | Bible Gleanings – August 6-7, 2022

Reginald was a prisoner of his own appetite. Instead of eating to live, he lived to eat. He couldn’t put down the fork even when his freedom depended on it. According to historians, Reginald III (1333-1371), former Duke of Guelders (also known as “The Fat”) was imprisoned in the castle of Nijenbeek by his younger brother and held in a cell that a normal-sized person could easily escape from. Reginald only had to fight his appetite and diet his way out of prison.

Instead, Reginald ate high on the hog. Each day, his brother sent a range of the most delectable dishes to his cell because he knew that overindulgence consumed him. Reginald only grew fatter. He was imprisoned because he was enslaved by his belly. And because he was powerless to conquer his lust, he died behind bars as a slave to gluttony. 

As sinners, we are just like Reginald. We cannot escape from sin’s prison cell because we don’t want to stop eating sin’s rotten fruit. Our corrupted nature tells us that sin is as scrumptious as a shiny apple, and we believe it (Genesis 3:6). We are born incarcerated by depravity, shackled by a heinous hunger for evildoing, and enslaved to sin. As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34, NKJV).

The good news is that Jesus came into the world to set sinners free from spiritual slavery. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,” said Jesus, “because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus wields the sword of the gospel and He shatters the chains of iniquity to set captives free. He is the Bread of Life, and those who receive Him will hunger for the will of God (John 4:31-34; 6:35).

You have been liberated from slavery to sin if you have believed the gospel. For Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). And you won’t die behind the bars of wickedness. As Paul assured,

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Open and Closed Doors | Bible Gleanings – July 30-31, 2022

The Lord God is the mighty doorkeeper who opens doors that cannot be closed. He is “the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut” (Revelation 3:7a). The golden key that unlocks every door is in His sovereign hands. Thus, every situation you face, every event you experience, and every opportunity you seize is a God-opened door through which you enter and access His sovereign will for your life. And behind those doors may be blessings or burdens, but God opens them both as part of His plan to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

The Lord God is also the master locksmith who locks doors that no one can get through. Revelation 3:7 says that He “shuts and no one opens.” Because of His divine providence, there are some doors you will never pass through. Some opportunities will never be yours because God has closed the door. Some circumstances will never befall or bless you because God has sealed the door shut. 

There are some doors you probably wish you could walk through. Your life might even seem like a long corridor of nothing but closed doors at every turn. You may earnestly desire a better job, a healthier body, a happier marriage, a normal life, a bigger church, or even an answer to prayer. But, the immovable bar of God’s sovereignty may be blocking the door for the time being. And you may knock until your knuckles are bruised, kick until your feet are sore, or rattle the handle until your hands are weak, but you’ll never pass through a door God has bolted shut. 

In the mystery of His providence, God often closes doors because He has already opened many others for you. When the Lord locks a door, it is because He has a better one waiting for you to pass through. Many others are sealed shut because you do not truly need what lies behind them. And while God may shut a thousand doors before He opens one, you can rest assured that His will is always good, His timing is always right, and His grace is always sufficient (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Isaiah 40:31; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Put your faith in Him, and He will lead you through opened doors and guide you away from the ones that are closed: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Enchanting But Deadly | Bible Gleanings – July 23-24, 2022

“The snow danced in August,” he said. Former steelworker Joe Gutierrez recalls the summer snowstorms in his tell-all book, The Heat: Steelworkers’ Lives and Legends,” which documents the pains and pleasures of working in a steel mill. According to Gutierrez, silvery dust flakes floated gracefully to the ground, forming a beguiling blanket of snow. The pretty particles fell from a section of the plant where steel bars rolled over pads in a cooling tower. And the enchanting scene lured both workers and visitors to the mill to witness the mysterious phenomenon.

The delightful dust turned out to be asbestos, a fibrous mineral that causes cancer and pulmonary disease. It was dazzling to the eyes, but deathly to the lungs. “Everybody breathed it,” wrote Gutierrez, who suffered from the slow stranglehold of asbestosis. “Can’t walk too far now. I get tired real fast and it hurts when I breathe, sometimes. And to think we used to fight over that job.” Sometimes, things that are fascinating and gorgeous may be fatal and grim. 

The Book that God inspired, the Bible, says the same thing about sin. Wickedness disguises itself as harmless as fluttering snowflakes, but it is the mother of death for all who dance in its drizzle (James 1:14-15). Iniquity pretends to be a friend, but it is an enemy that wages war against our soul (1 Peter 2:11). Sin masquerades as a scrumptious fruit that will satisfy our taste, but it is the rotten root attached to the bitter tree of wormwood (Proverbs 5:4). Evil is attractive to the hungry eyes of our flesh, but it is always dangerous to the spiritual health of our heart.

Therefore, we must continually look outward, inward, and upward to avoid looking onward at the false beauty of sin. We must look outward and diligently watch out for spiritual danger (Matthew 26:41). We must glance inward, and pray that God would continually cleanse our wicked heart (Psalm 51:10; Jeremiah 17:9). And we must gaze upward, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Resources from the Ministry of Pastor Brandon G. Bramlett