Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God.

Zephaniah 3:1-2

Some Christians walk straight toward spiritual paralysis. It’s never something we choose. No one consciously opts for stagnation and impairment. But there is a path down which disaster awaits. What could cause this sort of malady and wreak this havoc on a soul?

Such a devastating debility is often caused by hearing the voice of God in His word but then disobeying Him. It’s like looking Him straight in the face through Scripture but choosing to ignore Him. It is to be confronted with truth from your Creator and to claim, as His creature, to know better.

In the prophet Zephaniah’s day, the Spirit of God confronted the people of God with “woe”—with a warning of captivity and bondage. The “oppressing city” was Jerusalem itself—the city of God’s people. What was true for Jerusalem in a physical sense will be true of us in a spiritual sense if we refuse to listen to the voice of God and accept no correction from Him. There can be no blessing, no life, and no vitality where His word is neglected or disobeyed.

It is wise, then, to ask ourselves some difficult questions, rather than assuming that these kinds of warnings are only for others. Has God been speaking to you about a sinful habit in your life that you’ve decided you will hold on to and not break? Has He been speaking to you about a holy habit that you should establish, and you know that you should but you never actually do so? Has He been speaking to you about an apology that needs to be made, but in your pride you are avoiding doing this? Has He been speaking to you about a reconciliation that needs to take place with a loved one in your physical family or in the family of God?

Thankfully, God always receives His children with open arms when we turn to Him and heed His voice again. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”—all on account of Christ (1 John 1:9). When we are humble enough to listen to His voice and put our trust in Him, then we enjoy the experience of nearness to God once more. How is the Spirit prompting you as you read this passage today? There’s no better time than now to step off the path to spiritual paralysis and find grace in the arms of your Savior.

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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.