Monday, April 30, 2018

Keeping Sin at Bay

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Charles Finney considered as one of the greatest preachers said, “Sin is the most expensive thing in the universe… If it is forgiven sin, it cost God His only Son… If it is unforgiven sin, it cost the sinner his soul and an eternity in hell.” His graphic description of sin’s cost helps us focus on keeping its power in our lives at bay. In other words, keenly observing a safe distance from its grasps must be done intentionally.

Let’s begin uncovering its origin and some ways of understanding without minimizing its influence. The apostle James described the natural cycle of sinBut each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15, ESV).

What is very clear at the onset is the certainty of temptation for all of us: “But each person is tempted…” Matthew Henry commented, “We never are secure from trialsIn Hebrew, to tempt, and to try, or to prove, are expressed by the same word. Every trial is indeed a temptation.” Jesus experienced various temptations: For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted(Hebrews 2:18). Next, enticement comes when our desires become stirred and lured in the wrong way: “…when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Someone provided an excellent depiction of this concept::

The word for ‘entice’ is the idea of baiting a hook. A good fisherman knows how to bait the hook in just the right way so the fish will be attracted to it and caught. Satan is a specialist at baiting the hook in just the right way so that you’ll be attracted and then hooked.

In the Garden of Eden, we saw this happening when Satan stirred Eve’s curiosity and desires: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6, NIV). Eve, in partaking of the fruit seems harmless enough but forgetting that doing so was disobedience against God’s command: “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin…” We need to remember that our desires, however beneficial, when it opposes God’s desires is a sin or missing the mark. In this state, Matthew Henry commented, “The world draws the heart from God; and the more the love of the world prevails, the more the love of God decays.”

The full effect of a sinful lifestyle results in death: “…sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” The apostle Paul explicitly stated, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a, NIV). Even Methuselah, the oldest man recorded in the Bible who lived up to 969 years of age still died (Genesis 5:27). No matter what we do in preventing death in coming to our life, the book of Hebrews is clear, “…it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27a, KJV).

Allow me to provide some principles to follow in keeping sin at bay. The first thing to remember is “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11, NIV). God offered protection by wearing His armor against all attacks of sin especially when personal desires become stirred. Next, take full control of lust and desires invading our lives. Luke Gilkerson[1]shared the following: 

·     This might mean mentally fleeing: bouncing our thoughts away from lustful imaginations.
·      This might mean visually fleeing: bouncing our eyes away from lustful images.
·      This might mean physically fleeing: walking (or running) away from tempting situations.

Finally, it is a fact that while we are on earth, sin is ever present. Therefore, if and when we commit sin, our first reaction in breaking the cycle of sin and its power in our lives according to the Scriptures is to “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). The action of he rejoicing father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son exhibited it best after seeing his son came back to him from his life of sin. He received him without any condemnation and declared to everyone: “This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found ” (Luke 15:24, NIV). God is just waiting for us to come back to Him. He is always ready to accept us again with open arms. Will you do it and humble yourself before God?
Let’s talk again!