I just started learning the guitar. Those who have done so can feel my pain. Chords hurt. My fingers ache. The very thought of forming an "A" or "G" or "D" on those steel instruments of torture creates a sort of dread in my sore hand. There is a constant tingling that now goes on in the tips of my fingers. Pressing the strings is agony. They say it will get more comfortable when calluses are developed. Until then: OUCH! It strikes me that our consciences are like this with sin. At first it hurts. It bothers us. It feels uncomfortable and wrong. But persistent sinning builds calluses on our heart and conscience. What bothered us at first now hardly impresses us at all. Soon we sin easily, comfortably, skillfully. Have you grown comfortable with some sin? Have I? Surely we have. Pray for tender consciences. Pray for more pain when we sin. I want calluses to develop on my fingers, but I dread the calluses of my soul that allow me to sin without pain. O Lord...make me hurt again!
I saw a dead chipmunk yesterday. There it lay: lifeless and hopeless. The maggots, however, were FULL of activity. They were swarming, chewing, wiggling, moving all over the poor dead creature. Oh my soul...don't ever be alarmed that dead religion seems to be surrounded with furious activity by its followers. The truth sometimes seems to be moving slowly. But the truth is alive. False religion is dead religion, no matter how much activity seems to be going on around it.
Some seem to mistake reading MUCH with reading WELL. I think I have fallen into this from time to time. Don't confuse these. Reading well is not the same as reading much any more than speaking well is the same as speaking much. Just because one eats much, we do not say he has eaten well. Seek to read well, not to simply read much.