“It’s OK. I can do whatever I want because God’s forgiveness is always available and limitless.”
What wrong thinking can you identify in that statement?
I met a man who, at age 57, has neuropathy in his feet, neck and spine. The constant excruciating pain, numbness and incapacity are relieved only with several strong medications and physical therapy.
On a rare day, when he is feeling good, he could do what he really wants to do – be like other men playing sport and lifting heavy things. Yet, if he yields to that strong temptation, he suffers for it big-time. So he has gotten to the point where to trade temporary enjoyment for long-term pain is just NOT worth it. To trade would be stupid!!
The name ‘Moses’ should ring a bell about now. Hebrews 11:25 He choose mistreatment and the reproach of Christ rather than the fleeting pleasures of sin.
But it’s so tempting . . .
How about when we are tempted to do what we want to do instead of what we should do? If we yield, excrutiating pain is sure to follow … BUT … not always straightaway.
It often seems to be Satan’s strategy to allow us to become popular or successful and truly enjoy the thrill. No one even finds out. We become confident and hooked … until the worst possible moment … and then Satan exposes and dumps us. Things get messy – and excruciatingly painful. Spiritual neuropathy.
Where was God? Sometimes choosing to not stop us, God’s kindness allows us to go our own way with the purpose of bringing us to repentance. Romans 2:4
How can I say “no”?
At salvation, we died to sin. Sin is dead, lifeless, powerless. We can say ‘no’ to temptation because we already have the victory through Jesus’ death! It’s our choice. Dead to sin and alive to God. Galatians 6
Do I really understand repentance?
Besides the consequences of sin, people who live by the statement at the top – sincerely or flippantly – do not understand forgiveness and repentance. A hard heart brings God’s wrath. Romans 2:5 A tender heart is what God looks for.
Repentance is fair dinkum broken-heartedly turning around with “godly sorrow” and tears, hating what looked so appealing before, and heading in the opposite direction quickly! Job 42:6; Matthew 3:8 Repentance is agonizing over the pain inflicted on God or another person more than the pain you experienced due to the consequences of your sin.
Though God stands always willing and ready to forgive, forgiveness is not granted until there is true repentance. There is no switch we quickly flick on and – boing! – there’s automatic forgiveness and all is well. See God’s dealings in the Old Testament.
What am I missing here?
Often, the missing ingredients are not knowing who God really is and the incredible sacrifice of His death and the abundant life He offers. Deeply absorbing the wonder of His awesomeness causes us to fall on our face before Him, sobbing with gratefulness and longing to do everything we can to please Him. 1 John 2:15
What am I really longing for?
Asking God’s Spirit to fill us will deeply satisfy our longings with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22 Peace & joy – what everyone pursues. That’s a smart trade for ‘the pleasures of sin for a season.’
“He satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9