If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; [Psalm 66:18]
In Joshua 7, Israel went to battle and a man named Achen disobeyed the instructions of the Lord and siezed some of the plunder from the defeated enemy that was in the camp. In a later battle Israel kept getting defeated and Joshua distraught went before the Lord to find out why.
The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
Who did Achan steal from? Dead enemy soldiers? No, but God. So often as Christians we find ourselves falling into defeat and succumbing to sins, temptations and traps because there is a need for God to cleanse our hearts of “Devoted desires of sin” and if we let our hearts trap us by wrong attitudes, motives or desires we will be easy pickens when temptation comes through our flesh as well as flaming arrows of the Evil One. Take for example Ephesians 4 where it says, “And do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Resentment is a great example of something we can easily allow into the camp of our hearts like the devoted things for destruction- in the story of Achan. We may be tempted to hold onto anger but it ensures defeat.
There are many other things that this can happen with but persomal challenge- What things devoted to destruction have you possibly allowed to grow in your heart? How will you in accordance to Scripture deal with it? See 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13!