Spiritual Entropy: 7 Killers of Your Walk with the Lord
- Summary: Equipment breaks down. Our bodies age. Once-beautiful buildings are now empty, desolate structures. What is this? It’s the law of entropy. And it applies equally to spiritual entropy. But we can be alert and prevent it from happening by applying biblical remedies.
Entropy (dictionary.com): Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.
Steady deterioration is true in the natural. Just think of your car now versus the day you drove it out of the showroom. Sadly, entropy is often true spiritually too. Various polls and research show an ongoing, broad-based decline in American Christianity. Very likely your own observations confirm this.
Today I want to share with you from Scripture seven tendencies to spiritual entropy and how to avoid them.
(1) The tendency of evil to go from bad to worse
2 Timothy 3:12-14 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.
- • For the past 43 years it has been legal in the USA to kill unborn babies by abortion. This horror was almost unheard of in my young years.
- • A half century ago homosexual conduct was nearly universally condemned, as it is in the bible. Now (2016) gay marriage is legal in most of America, is widely accepted, and is glamorized in the media.
- • Modesty in clothing choices has become a lost virtue in my lifetime.
- • Many more examples could be given. What can you do in the face of the moral deterioration that is consuming our nation? The answer is: make up your mind to “continue in” the biblical standards you’ve learned. God’s standards of morality do not change with societal changes.
(2) The tendency of love to grow cold
Matthew 24:3, 12-13 ...what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” ... [12, NKJV] And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold [in the last days], [13, NIV] but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
- • Recall the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:4 (Amplified) — Jesus said to them, “I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me].”
- • This is a danger in marriages. If they are not maintained and nourished, the love can slowly diminish. It’s the same in our Bridegroom-Bride relationship with Jesus Christ. If we get distracted and lose our focus on Him, that can open the door for our love for Him to subtly, slowly deteriorate as we give our attention to less important things.
- • What can you do? — “Stand firm” in your love for the Lord. Make Him your highest priority.
(3) The tendency to reallocate our treasure to earthly things more than to God
Malachi 3:7-8 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”
- • Luke 12:21 [Jesus speaking of the sad end of the greedy landowner] "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
- • Jesus said we cannot serve two masters. It will be either God or money, but not both (Matthew 6:24). The spiritual man will choose God and His kingdom.
- • What can you do? — “Return to [the Lord and His decrees] ... How are we to return? ... [in this context] In tithes and offerings.”
- • What is the takeaway here? — Prioritize your resources to further the growth and expansion of the kingdom of God, not your own wellbeing.
(4) The tendency to go from hot to lukewarm
Revelation 3:14-17, 19 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ... ...you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked....  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
- • There is a dangerous tendency spiritually to say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” In a word, the lukewarmness of spiritual complacency, of being content to be “at ease in Zion.”
- • What can you do? — very simply: Repent! Change! Lukewarmness is a sin to repent of. Complacency is a sin to repent of. Remember Jesus’ charge to “keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35). Press back into praise, worship, reading the bible, attending a good church. Stir up your relationship with the Lord, lest you join the dangerous slide from “hot” to “lukewarm” in your walk with the Lord.
(5) The tendency to a deteriorating prayer life
1 Samuel 12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.
- • The prophet Samuel considered it a sin if he should neglect intercessory prayer for Israel.
- • What can we do? — The answer is implied in Samuel’s “God forbid!” Be aggressive in dealing with your lack of prayerfulness. Determine to pray. Specifically schedule prayer into your day. Also take opportunities for brief prayers throughout the day as you go about your daily activities. If your church has preservice prayer, be there! As an elderly man of God whom I knew used to say, ask God to grant you a “spirit of prayer.” God is very willing to work with you in developing a stronger prayer connection between you and Him. To become or continue to be a spiritual man or woman, you must strive for a thriving personal prayer life.
(6) The tendency to lapse from grace and faith back into Law-keeping and works to “earn” God’s favor
Galatians 3:3, 5 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?…  Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the Law, or because you believe what you heard?
Galatians 4:9-11 But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?  You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!  I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
- • Here’s another dangerous scenario of spiritual entropy — forgetting our marvelous spiritual beginnings and drifting back to trying to accomplish the things of God by human effort. Just like some of the believers in the early Church, we today can lose sight of our “beginning with the Spirit” and fall into the trap of returning to the works of the Law.
- • What can you do? — Remind yourself of this glorious truth: “By grace are ye saved through faith, not of works…” (Ephesians 2:8, KJV).
- • Remember, biblically, we are not saved by human effort, nor are we kept in God’s favor by human effort. Rather, we expend our human efforts and do good works gratefully because of the Lord’s blessings in our lives, not to earn His blessings (Ephesians 2:8-10).
(7) The tendency to be gradually corrupted by bad companions
1 Kings 11:1-4 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter — Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.  They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” ...  ...his wives led him astray.  As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
- • 1 Corinthians 15:33 Bad company corrupts good character.
- • What can you do? — Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Choose godly companions. Walk with the wise, and you will grow in your walk with God. Don’t be a companion of fools, or your spiritual walk will take a big hit.
Summary — 7 Dangers Leading to Spiritual Entropy
- • Evil’s tendency to go from bad to worse
- • Letting our love grow cold
- • Placing our treasure in earthly things more than in God’s kingdom
- • The subtle tendency to go from being hot to being lukewarm
- • A declining prayer life
- • Lapsing from grace and faith back to a confidence in Law-keeping and good works
- • Being corrupted by bad companions
Apply the biblical remedies we have looked at, and not only will your walk with the Lord not decline, but it can take on new life and vibrant health. May God bless you as you draw ever closer to Him.
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©2016, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.