While Men Slept
Mike Miller




Prayer List

But while men slept, his enemy came … Matt. 13:25

Sin works that way. It never comes in the front door while everyone is watching and waiting for it. Sin works like a cancerous disease in that it’s seeds sprout and take root in the heart long before there is any outward evidence. We lose the battle too often because we sleep until the full-blown fruit of sin breaks forth. We then try to take action against it but it is too late. Parents with their children, pastors with their flocks, husbands and wives, they always look back with regret that they did not pay closer attention before it was too late.

Part of the reason we have this weakness is the fact that sin is a matter of the heart, or soul of man. Its roots are not found in the physical flesh of man, as so many are blindly teaching, but in the affections of the heart. We cannot see what is happening in the heart of someone else. Parents can’t know what is going on in the hearts of their children unless they put forth a strong effort to maintain a close heart-relationship with those children. A pastor can’t know what is going on in the hearts of his people unless he does the same. One Christian can’t know for sure what is going on in the heart of a brother or sister. They may stand and testify, give sacrificially, be active in all the church functions, and be secretly living in deep sin in their heart. In any relationship there must be complete trust before they will share their hearts with one another. I would submit to you that such relationships are a rare thing, especially in these days of apostasy and sin. Most folks go through the motions, do their duties, speak the language, and do whatever else it takes to make everyone else think they are walking with God. But many have that secret place where things are different. That secret place is where sin finds its beginnings.

Judas was not a suspect at all, as far as the other disciples were concerned. The first inkling they had of evil in Judas was when he came with the soldiers to betray the Lord. If they had known his heart they could have picked up on where his affections really lay. He gave some evidence of it when he complained about the very precious ointment being poured out on Jesus. But they were asleep, as far as that was concerned. They were busy with their own concerns, and occupied with their own problems, desires, and ambitions. That is exactly how parents lose their children, husbands lose their wives, or vice versa, and pastors lose their flocks. We are not close enough to one another and there aren’t very many who can really share their heart with someone else. One lady, whose missionary husband had abandoned her and their three children, confessed that she had known something was wrong, but she couldn’t bring herself to seek counsel with a pastor because she didn’t want to end up as an illustration in someone’s sermon. In other words, there is no confidence because we are too loose with our tongues. Pastors talk too much. Husbands and wives talk too much to others about what should be kept only between the two of them. Parents also talk too much about their children to others. It would be a great spiritual advantage for all of us if we really knew each other’s souls. Our relationships are too shallow and based on carnal, outward things, and therefore we are open to this secret attack by the world, the flesh, and the devil himself.

The watchman better be looking farther down the road than the other side of the gate. If he sleeps until the enemy is at the gate his warning will be too late, if he is even able to sound an alarm. If a parent sleeps until their child has transferred the affections of his heart to his peers and the things of the world, he has lost his child. If we expect to have any hope of not losing our child to the world and the devil we surely better keep an open line to his heart. We better know what is going on in that mind and in that heart. We need to know what he is thinking about and how he is thinking. His philosophy will begin to change long before his actions do. Before he begins to participate in sin he will be thinking about it. It is a fairly long process from purity to pollution, especially if he has been reared in a Christian home and under true preaching of the Word of God. There are many obstacles in his heart and mind that he has to rationalize and reason out of the way. If we aren’t asleep we will be able to pick up on the fact that the devil is lying to his heart. There is a chance of victory if we deal with it then. But if we are too busy, or if are looking the other way while this is going on, we will turn around one day and find the door to his heart has closed and we aren’t allowed in any more.

Many homes would be saved if husband and wife would do likewise. Two become one, and that should be a reality in every marriage. The two better share more than the same bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. They better share their hearts. They better be of the same mind. They better be all they need to be to each other. They better not get so busy with careers, children, or even church activities that they lose touch with what is going on in the heart of their mate. If they do their marriage is in peril. There will be an opportunity for the affections of their heart to be stolen away by another. This is what happens almost 100 percent of the time before a home is broken up – and everyone is sleeping until one or the other walks out the door for the final time. Then everyone is wondering how this could have possibly happened. In their mind they treat it as if it is just something that suddenly occurred, but the truth is, it started a long time ago and everyone was simply asleep and didn’t see it coming. It is very, very rarely a harlot appealing to the flesh that breaks up a home. Through repeated contact at work or some other place the heart is slowly enticed away until the affection that belongs to their mate is transferred to someone else. It isn’t the lust of the flesh, but the heart is where the battlefield is. While we are focusing on other things we totally miss it most of the time.

We watch the young people at church do exactly the same thing. As long as they don’t wear earrings and tattoos, and if they will simply come to church and act halfway like Christians, we go to sleep and think everything will work out fine. But while we are busy with all our cares of life and “working for the Lord” the devil himself is stealing their hearts away with his lies and deceit right under our noses. We are aiming way off the target with the young people. Most people don’t even expect them to be spiritual. Just as long as they attend church most adults count that as a successful ministry and the best to be hoped for. That is why many churches are now using contemporary (Baal) music to draw the young people. “Hey, they are in church!” they say. Oh, but what about their hearts? Where does the affection of their hearts lie? Most churches are focusing on trying to entertain them and have “youth activities” that will keep them coming, but what they really need is a godly example of Christ-loving older folks. They need someone who is concerned about their heart They can be sitting in a real Bible-believing, fundamental church, with standards of separation and holiness, and good holy music, and still have the affections of their heart set on the world and wickedness.

Maybe you are one who just cannot understand how people could be hooked on drugs or pornography, or whatever other sin of the flesh you might mention. You might have trouble understanding how a person could sit in a Bible-believing church for years and then turn and leave to live just like the rest of the world. If that is the case then you have failed to understand these very important facts of life:

1. Man is made in the image of God.
2. God is love.
3. The heart of man is so constituted that it is going to love.
4. The destiny of the person depends upon what the affection of the heart is set on.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Prov. 4:23

It is all about the heart and we pay far too little attention to that fact. We are much too easily pacified and put to sleep by simple outward compliance with our ideas of righteousness. Churches, ministries, homes, marriages are all counted as successes if they simply have the outward appearance of conformity to the standards of whatever group they are associated with. There are others who have so much “security” that they think they are not vulnerable to the deceit of the devil or the world. That is a very foolish way to think. Jesus never told us to kick back and relax after we are saved because we are untouchable. He warned us over and over, “WATCH!” “WATCH AND PRAY, THAT YE ENTER NOT INTO TEMPTATION!” “WATCH!” Watch for what? Watch that your heart be not deceived, or enticed away from God. The first and greatest commandment is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH. Naturally then, the primary goal of the devil would be to stop us from doing that. The only way he can steal our heart is to entice it into setting its affections on something or someone else. WATCH your heart so that doesn’t happen. You shouldn’t only watch your own heart, but you should watch the hearts of those you love, and those you are responsible for before God. Don’t sit around asleep until sin has broken out and produced its fruit in physical action. Do what the doctors always say to do – look for the early warning signs. Check up on things often and regularly. You might find something in your children or your spouse, or your brother that you wouldn’t have found had you not had a check up. Just like a cancerous disease, the earlier you find it, the better chance you have for a cure.

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thess. 5:6

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