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Carbon monoxide poisoning can be lethal because it is undetectable to the ordinary human. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas which attaches itself to the haemoglobin in the body which usually carry oxygen to cells. Carboxyhaemoglobin is formed as a result and the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen which then causes the body’s cells and tissues to fail and die.

Because the gas is undetectable to human senses, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious. Headaches, dizziness, feelings of nausea and tiredness and confusion can all have other causes, and so the problem can remain undetected for a long time. Nowadays, using carbon monoxide alarms in houses helps us to become aware of gas leaks and thus prevents the accidental deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, but there’s no doubt that exposure to this gas can be dangerous to our health.

In the same way that we are unable to detect the presence of carbon monoxide on our own and can often not recognise the symptoms of this poisoning, so we are exposed daily to the toxic influence of the world and the enemy’s fiery darts without always recognising the poisonous effect this has on our lives and on our faith. We ascribe our lack of zeal, prayer and passion for God to the pressures of life, the busyness of the day and the familiarity of relationship, but in truth, anything which pushes God off the throne of our lives is acting as a poison, severing us from the intimate connection required to maintain spiritual health and vigour. We need to be alert to the presence and power of toxic thinking and remove all traces of this from our lives if we are to grow in grace and a knowledge of the Lord.

We need to be ruthless with sin and refuse to settle for justifications for our behaviour which may look plausible but are simply excuses. Anything which nudges you away from God – gradually, inch by inch – needs to be challenged and changed. We fall back from our relationship with God when we allow our hearts to focus on ourselves more than on God and when we allow our eyes to wander onto worthless things. (Ps 119:37) Only by steadfastly committing ourselves to God and to His word can we overcome the toxic effects of the tri-fold poisoning of the flesh, the world and the enemy.