Monday, April 6, 2015

Sin Impairs All Reasonable Judgment

"One day, young John Wesley looked at his mother and said, 'Mother, can you give me a definition of sin?'  And John Wesley's mother said this, 'Son, whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things.'  In essence, she said, 'If anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit, that to you, John Wesley, becomes sin; however good it is in itself.' "  Ravi Zacharias

"The problem in our culture is this: We want to live life our way – no rules, no limits, no restrictions."  Bethany Baird

One of the best prayers we can offer to God is asking Him to show us the ugliness of our sin and to see it for what it is, as He sees it.

We all have different struggles and temptations, just like most of us have a history of various sins and differing degrees in which we wrestled with them.  Something I have learned through addiction and seeking help through various means (and being honest with trusted accountability partners, much prayer, and now walking in freedom) is that sin blinds people.  It's amazing to me how we can feel burdened over the weight of guilt and want a way out or be in bondage to certain acts (all the while hating the sin), and God graciously intervenes over time and in various ways, leading us to repentance...

...yet without being wise with our thought life and guarding our hearts against temptation, we are soon back to where we were in the midst of addiction and feeling unable to stop.  We slowly allow sin back into our lives through a small compromise here and willful disobedience there, then wonder how we ended up in the same boat again, feeling like we are about to drown in a loss of self-control.

"Sin is not merely something that offends the mind of God; sin offends our humanity and our human relationships."  Luke Gilkerson

God's gift of a guilty conscience is one of our greatest blessings because it is a warning to the depths we have fallen and shows our need for change.

If your sins of choice have become life to you and the very reason you care to live, there is a problem.  While I certainly understand this and have been there myself in specific ways, I know that an unrepentant and apathetic heart toward the purity God calls us to as believers is a dangerous place to be.


Because it is evidence of a warped view of God and shows stubbornness and pride on our part in blatantly refusing to live according to God's word and honor Him with all we are and everything we do.  It frightens me (quite literally) to think of the months or years I was trapped in a vicious cycle of impurity and yet either didn't care how it was affecting my walk with God or I used the excuse, "God loves me.  He is forgiving."  It is a scary thought to think of how many professing Christians live in such a manner as to look no different than the world by the entertainment they view, places they go, or the crowd they spend time with.

"Know where you are weak, and take action to make sure you don't fall prey to the weakness."  Dave Ramsey

Sin may be pleasurable, yet when brought to completion, we can see how it isn't worth experiencing consequences or being separated from God by hardening our hearts toward Him all because we wanted to feel good.

Sin will cost you more than you want to pay, keep you longer than you want to stay and take from you more than you thought you'd initially give.  Ask anyone who has reaped what they've sown if it was worth it.  Learn from the consequences of others and let it serve as a warning to you.  Consequences are much more painful than the sins were pleasurable.  First John 1: 9 assures us of God's forgiveness, yet we will reap what we sow.  We will not get away with sin (see Galatians 6: 7).  Our choices have consequences.  Be wise and learn from your past sins.  Don't repeat them.

This isn't a joke, you guys!  I understand that both men and women, parents and bosses, teenagers, the elderly and children all face temptation...yet how we respond to temptation says so much about us and whether we fear God or assume His grace will cover our wrong-doing and can be spit upon with every willful choice to sin against Him.

"The secret to victory over sin is to fight temptation instead of sin, for the person who is fighting sin has already lost the battle."  John Njoroge

Every choice we make leading up to our temptation will determine if we give in or if we will stand firm on the truths we know in God’s word.

Here is a list of questions to help you evaluate your stance on temptation and sin in general:

  • Do you see anything contrary to God's word as something that will destroy you?
  • What do you care about more: Gratifying self or pleasing God?
  • Are you happy with the person you are when sin is pursued and indulged in?
  • How does God view sin in a believer's life?
  • Do you justify your thoughts and actions and herald them as normal since we live in a society where temptation abounds?
  • How often do you put yourself in tempting situations?  Is the momentary thrill worth all it will cost you over time?

...and if you think sin won't cost you, the truth of the matter is that every time we make choices that run contrary to God's word, we are harming our relationship with Him, we are distancing ourselves from other people, we are losing sight of our holy God who requires repentance of true believers, and we become desensitized to the monster of what sin is.

"...the effects of sin extend to every dimension of life."  Albert Mohler

Obedience to Christ might not seem fun in the moment (especially living in a culture where seemingly anything goes and people live as though they will never give an account of their lives to Almighty God on the Day of Judgment), but each decision we make to apply God's word and live in a manner worthy of Him, will over time, bring about a beautiful legacy, a guilt-free conscience, safety, and delighting the heart of God.

As my old Pastor used to say, "Sin always requires the death of something."  You don't know what this will entail exactly, yet we can be sure that whatever God's word calls sin will only end up harming us.

Fear God and keep His commandments.  Live in such a way that you have nothing to hide.

"We very seldom ask, 'What are the guidelines?  What perimeters?  What boundaries?  Are there any fences we must not cross?'  It was G. K. Chesterton who said, 'Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.'  Unlimited pleasure ultimately leads to unlimited regret."  Ravi Zacharias


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