“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you far more than you intended to pay.”
I guess I am getting tired of seeing sin exposed and people trying to hide it, or sin exposed and people choosing to accept it. Whatever happened to studying what the Bible has to say about it? Men and women alike have chosen, at some point in their life, what sins they have deemed to be okay. They may have been exposed to it as a child and thought it to be normal, or they may have heard of it and grew curious.
One of the reasons an individual may commit an affair is not because he doesn’t love his spouse and children, but, rather, he is drawn by the adrenaline rush sin provides under the guise of happiness. Sin is enjoyable for a season, but the after-affects only bring sorrow. Ultimately, sin will bring death.
As a Christian, submitting to sin is a choice. We are freed from the bondage of sin when we accept Christ as our Saviour. With His strength we can overcome its influence over our flesh. Sin is not more powerful than God, nor did God create it to see us suffer. Adam sinned in the garden and brought sin upon all men (Romans 5:12). When we trust Christ as our personal Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome sin. We have 1 John 1:9 as a promise of forgiveness when we sin. What we must understand is the need to put away our flesh every morning to fight the temptations of sin. It may seem to have a strong hold on us, but God is faithful to help us through it (Hebrews 10:13, 13:5b).
Let’s look at where sin begins and how we can recognize its steps before it’s too late.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”I Corinthians 13:11
Innocence is the stage of vulnerability.
A baby is fully dependent on his parents or caregiver for nourishment and support. A child is influenced not only by his parents, but by outside influences coming into the home, such as entertainment via TV, computers, and music. He is also influenced by routine activities such as school, daycare, or a time spent with a friend.
Innocence is a blank slate. It is the state of being moldable, either for righteousness or unrighteousness. “Train up a child in the way he should go,” doesn’t mean that children will always choose the right way in which their parents have led them. Some will choose to learn their lessons the hard way -by experiencing the consequences of their sins. It is when they are old that they will return to the way in which they were brought up.
We have a choice to choose whether we allow sin to take hold of our life, or to forsake it and embrace something good. When someone says “I am an alcoholic today because my father was an alcoholic,” they are choosing to say that they do not make decisions for themselves, instead, others make choices for them. We should know what the Bible teaches, and when we are confronted with temptation, we should remind ourselves that once we are scarred by sin, there is no returning to the way things used to be.
Complete innocence only lasts for so long, but the choice to be pure can be made before our innocence is corrupted. “To the pure all things are pure.” We have a choice to follow God’s Word and to glean from it the way we ought to live. Or we can choose the world’s wisdom, instead, to dictate our thinking.
Once sin has taken your innocence, it will move you on to the next stage.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”Daniel 1:8
Exposure is the stage of going from ignorance to knowledge – it is the stage of revelation.
As a child grows, what he learns and embraces in the first 10 years of his life will greatly effect who he becomes as an adult. As he develops his personality, he will begin to reason what will be acceptable to others and what will not.
Children will be introduced to drugs, alcohol, porn, and ideologies. Whether they choose to accept or reject these things, they will have already been exposed to them.
Some believe that if they send their child to a good public school, Christian school, or even home-school him, that he will not have to endure as much temptation from the world. But to believe this is to be blind. Even if he were to be given the opportunity to attend the best school in the world, he would still be presented with the inevitable dilemma of choosing evil over good.
A family rooted in God’s Word can be the best thing for a child. It can be the strongest anchor that will hold him firm when temptations come his way. When I was 16 years old, I heard a certain foul word for the first time. I didn’t know what it meant or why people continued to use it, but I felt like I should ask my Dad. When I brought it up, he quickly told me to never use it and why. Once I got a clearer understanding, I never used that obscenity, nor had I felt tempted to use it. The reason for this was because I received clear teaching from God’s Word, and understood what honored and dishonored God. I had a choice. Because, early in my life, I understood my choice and its consequences, it protected me from choosing to be foolish, and dishonoring my family and God.
If parents are indifferent to the idea of protecting their child’s heart, they will express this by laughing at him when he curses, or by ignoring him when he is rude or inappropriate. As parents, we need to teach our children to come to us for help or advice, when it comes to something they don’t understand. If there is not an open line of communication, they will seek advice elsewhere.
Men like Daniel and Joseph had convictions, and they purposed in their heart that they would honor God with their lives, regardless of the consequences. Their convictions and purpose came earlier in their lives, not at the times of their temptations. These men faced hardship, but they came out as gold in the end because they didn’t compromise. They chose to do good and not the evil with which they were confronted.
Once you are exposed to sin, it will take you to the next stage.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”Philippians 4:8
Curiosity is the stage of possibility and temptation. At this stage, a child will begin to ponder on the things of which he has been exposed. He will begin to try to understand things from every angle. For example, from the moment he realizes that boys and girls are different, he will begin to explore and seek out the differences. When he asks the question, “Where do babies come from?”, he is genuinely seeking an answer. If it’s not adequate, he will seek the answer elsewhere until he satisfies that curiosity. As parents, we need to be that open line of communication for our children. Most parents would opt to give their children advice, rather than have them seek it in other places, or from other people. If children lack good communication with their parents, they will seek it out in their friends, teachers, and through the world’s devices. These influences most often do not agree with the parent’s views, nor God’s Word. These types of advisors will only point to pleasing one’s own self.
As christian parents, it is crucial that our children be able to come to us and ask us any question about life, just as we have the ability to go to our heavenly Father for any thing we need. We can go to God without feeling uncomfortable as to how He would react, because He knows our heart and still loves us unconditionally.
Those who do not believe that the Bible has the answer for everything, clearly have not taken enough time to read the Bible. We need to be prepared to tell our children what the Bible says about all areas of life. We can instruct our children to see the standard and know the consequences for breaking the commandments given in the Scriptures.
Children want approval and, if they feel you do not care, they will seek that approval elsewhere. If we don’t confront and instruct them in the curious stage, then we risk losing them to sin’s addictions.
When I lived at home, my parents had a time of family devotions in Bible and prayer. During some of these times, we had discussions about what sin was and how to avoid it. To this day, I still remember those moments and the songs we would sing together as a family. They helped me, when I was older, to avoid sin and displeasing God.
Remember, curiosity leads to probability; probability leads to the realm of possibility. Curiosity will reach its peak, and action will follow its conclusions, unless it is redirected by convictions from what the Bible says about these sins.
Once sin has made you curious, it will take you on to the next stage.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”I Corinthians 10:12, 13
Addiction is the stage of being hooked while needlessly bearing the guilt that comes with it. When a person allows sin in their lives, they run the costly risk of allowing it to consume them. Satan wants you to think it is the best thing in the world, and through the mode of curiosity, he gets you hooked. You may have heard the phrase “sin is fun for a season.” Once you feel there is no escape, you begin to harbor those feelings. You begin to tell yourself that it’s okay or that no one will ever find out. You will convince yourself to believe that you are skilled at hiding your sin, but the guilt will keep presenting itself. During this stage, we may look at guilt as the enemy, but guilt is actually a good thing, acting as a catalyst in leading us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Peter was told that he would deny Christ. Although he was convinced he would never do such a thing, he inevitably did. He could have killed himself because of the overwhelming guilt, but instead, through the power of Christ’s forgiveness, he became a great witness and minister of the gospel and was used by God to author scripture. Judas, on the other hand, having betrayed Christ and even expressing his regret for doing so, did not seek forgiveness, but chose suicide in response to the weight of his overwhelming guilt.
When we feel guilty for our sin, we must come to Christ for help. Christ was tempted in the same way we are, yet without sin. He knows what we are going through and He will help us escape sin because He is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13)!
As parents, we must recognize the addiction in our own children’s lives. Time spent alone , when no one is looking, can be the means by which children are more vulnerable to choose sin. When we say, “I trust my child completely,” we are refusing to exercise prudence by taking heed to what Scripture has to say about sin. We are all prone to fall. Discussions with our children will enable them to see the problem and understand that there is someone on their side to help them through it. We must teach them of the joy repentance brings and the freedom that is gained in forsaking their sin. Choose to be their accountability partner, and set up safe guards. It is when we show our children the love of God through us that they will see that sin can no longer have a hold on them -for charity conquers all.
When we hear of someone’s sin we may feel repulsed. We must remember that we are no better than they, but rather to “take heed lest we fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). They need someone to help them through it and restore to restore them (Galatians 6:1). If we don’t return with love, they will feel they have no choice but to continue in their sin. If they feel that no one will help, they can also feel like they are lost to their sin.
When addicted, it may feel like there is no escape. But God is faithful to help you conquer sin so that you can come forth as gold and, through the experience of Christ’s forgiveness, become a help to others.
Once sin has made you addicted, it will take you on to the next stage.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”I Timothy 4:1-3
A seared conscience is the stage of acceptance of a sin. Its the stage of knowing you are in the wrong, but resolving to live with it. The Bible teaches that we ought to be careful not to “quench the spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30), but at this stage we have buried the conviction of the Holy Spirit so low that we don’t even hear Him anymore. We’ve become insensitive to sin, and begin to see it as normal behavior. We have deceived ourselves and now have a hardened heart to truth. Morality mean very little, and it depends on how we are feeling that day.
We know that the world is getting worse and worse when it comes to accepting sin and refusing the morals that are taught in Scripture, but we must not feel like there is no hope.
The only thing quick and powerful enough to fight sin is God’s Word. It’s not about quoting verses or shoving the Bible down throats, but showing the love of God and the solution to the problem. For someone to change, they must know they have a problem. Confrontation about sin can be the best thing. If you have an evident sin in your own life, it can be hard to help someone else with their sin problems (Luke 6:42). Be prepared spiritually to intervene and help them see the error in their ways and show them the solution.
When a person is in this stage, it doesn’t mean that it is too late or that they will never hear, but just that it will take a lot of hard work and prayer to bring them back from it. God is faithful, so why can’t we be for another brother or sister in Christ? Christ suffered in order to “bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18), are we willing to do the same?
Once sin has taken control, it will move you on to the final stage.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”Romans 1:28-32
Born-that-way is the stage of immorality. It is the stage of indifference to right and wrong. It is when one believes that he is right and everyone else is wrong. Ignoring the clear teach of scripture, he will accept his “feelings” as his moral compass. He lives in denial of truth and wants others to accept him in his sin. He uses the phrase “born-that-way” to assure people that he had no choice in the matter, but was created with the overwhelming power of this sin. He will proclaim it long enough and loud enough so that others will accept his answer as a fact of life instead of what it has always been, SIN. Just because we all are born in sin does not mean we are free of the responsibility to choose in accepting or rejecting it.
As a Christian, we may see people that have accepted their sin and choose to avoid them at all costs. It is wise to avoid walking with a fool, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t reach them with the gospel and see them get saved.
While in college, I worked at a job with a man who was a homosexual. My natural response was to run and avoid him all together. I did just that. After some time the Holy Spirit began to convict me about witnessing to him. I said no, but the Holy Spirit continued to push me. Hesitantly, I took a tract from our church and gave it to him as a invitation to come to our church. He responded with, “thank you, but I am sure your church would not accept me.” I told him to read the tract and if he had any questions to come and talk to me. Thinking I had fulfilled my Christian duty and that I would never have to speak to this man again, he met me in the break room and told me he had some questions about the tract. Shocked, I sat down with him and proceeded to tell him about Christ. I asked him if he had ever trusted Christ as his Saviour and he replied with a no. I asked him if he would like to trust Christ as his Saviour and he replied with a yes! That man got saved and came to my church once before moving to another job. Years later I left that job to start deputation for Scotland, but still followed a few of the people I’d met through the job on facebook. One day, I noticed a post from one of my facebook friends, of a man who was in a tragic accident and his life was on the line. I recognized his name and knew it was the man I witnessed to. Shortly after I heard the news of his accident, he passed away. What great joy it was to know that he was in a better place now, spending eternity with God in Heaven. I was glad that I listened to the Holy Spirit that day and that I didn’t choose to ignore him. I might have been his last chance to ever hear of the gospel of Christ. Had I not listened, he would have spent eternity in hell.
Just because we feel like there is no hope for someone, we must remember that Jesus gave hope for ALL! Just because someone is buried deep in sin, doesn’t mean they cannot be cleansed by the blood of Jesus! Jesus is the
We must remember that sin doesn’t just take a hold of the unsaved, but it can also take hold of Christians. There are those who have received Christ as their Saviour, but venture into sin because of exposure and curiosity. They need help to come out of sin. We must not write them off and hope they figure it out, but embrace them and guide them and show them the love of Christ through us. A Christian struggling with sin needs to be bathed in scripture and prayer, because only God can bring revival in there lives, and only God can make the desire of their heart righteous instead of worldly. Once sin has its grip on you, and has blinded your eyes from the truth, it will hold you here until the day you die.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay.”
Just because we have trusted Christ as our Saviour doesn’t mean that we do not still struggle with sin. Sin may be strong, but God is SO MUCH stronger! Sin would like to tell you there is no hope, but God gives hope! When a brother or sister in Christ falls into a great sin, we should not react by shunning them. We are to act in love by finding a way to help them, and by bringing them back to the point of restoration. They still have a choice to change their ways or to continue in their sin. However, we must not stop praying and fasting for them to see their own sin, and for them to seek revival in their lives.
We may desire to be innocent again, but it’s not about being sheltered from the knowledge of sin, but seeing sin and knowing how to counter it when the temptations arise. Many of my points have come from a standpoint of a parent to their children, but no matter where you are in your life, or what stage, you can choose hope, because God is faithful. Jesus is the greatest example we have to someone who has overcome sin. God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus was tempted in the same way we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 4:15). Jesus, after fasting for 40 days, was tempted of the devil and still escaped sin by the use of scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus did not leave us comfortless, but gave us the Holy Spirit to comfort us and to guide us in our lives as Christians (John 14:18-21, John 16:13, 2 Corinthians 4:3,4). I would have to say that Jesus did not leave us “empty handed” when it comes to taking on the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18).