A word on warnings.
The Importance of Warnings
Warning. Warning. Warning. A red siren begins flashing from what appears to be every direction, drawing the attention of everyone around. Warning. Warning. Warning. A loud mechanical voice over a PA system begins repeating that same word over and over again, the volume continuously rising. Warning. Warning. Warning.
What would you do in this situation? Do you heed the warnings and get out? Do you continue forward determine to find out what is going on?
As I read over the Bible readings for this week I envision the above scenario. In some situations I’ve heeded that warning and gotten out. In other situations, I didn’t listen and had to learn that lesson the hard way.
In other words I chose the road that led to sin.
Why? I’m not sure. Curiosity. I thought I knew better. I was unwillingness to listen to others. I didn’t want to wait. The list is endless. And often times made is small choices. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely those moments where I outright choose sin. But then there are those moments that I end up in sin because of a series of choices that aren’t in and of themselves sinful but lead me down a path that ends in choosing sin.
The Bible is full of warnings and advice on how we should live. Warnings and advice that are meant to help us. Warnings and advice that when heeded stop us from sinning and bring us closer to God. Why then do we struggle so much with taking into account these warnings and continually choosing sin?
The obvious answer… our sinful nature.
The problem with this though is that we tend to excuse our sin. The Bible clearly tells us that all have sinned (Romans 6:23) and that we are born sinners (Genesis 8:21, Psalm 51:5). Yes, we all have a sinful nature. We’re not perfect. We are going to mess up. We will sin. That doesn’t however make our sin acceptable or take away our ability to stop sin. While it is true that we are all sinners, we are also all called to be imitators of Christ, to be like Him (1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 Peter 2:21).
So what’s causing you to choose sin over Christ?
While I’m sure that there’s a whole list of reasons you could come up with, I’d like to focus on one: instant gratification. Instant gratification is an immediate satisfaction or pleasure which focuses on the present. It’s choosing now over tomorrow. If you look at your sin and the reasons why you choose it, my guess is you’ll find this reason at the core of much of it.
We run away from our problems.
We choose divorce over putting effort into marriage.
We choose sex over purity.
We choose unhealthy lifestyles over treating our bodies at the temple of the Holy Spirit.
We choose affairs over honoring our marriage commitment.
We choose entertainment over time in God’s word.
We choose medication over dealing with our emotions.
We choose talking to others over talking to God.
I deserve to be happy. It feels good. It’s what I want. That’s too hard. It’s the only thing that helps. No one else understands. I’ve earned this. I shouldn’t have to do that.
We want it. We get it. We feel like it. We do it (or don’t do it). And yet, where does that get you? Where has that gotten you?
Alone. Ruined. Insecure. Unfulfilled. Relationships destroyed. Unhappy. Empty.
So what’s the solution? Think beyond the moment…
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
17 Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.18 So we don’t spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can’t see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can’t be seen will last forever.
The instant gratification that comes with decisions we make is here for a moment and leaves. If you’re willing to tough it out in the moment though, the delayed gratification that comes from obeying God’s word and taking his advice last for eternity.
The Bible is full of warnings and advice on how we should live. Warnings and advice that are meant to help us. Warnings and advice that when heeded stop us from sinning and bring us closer to God.
Search God’s Word. Know Him. Think beyond the moment. Follow His warnings and advice. Hold tight to His truth…
Know that with God’s help you can get through it. (Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 3:5-6)
You might not always be happy but you can have joy. (Romans 15:13)
It might be hard, but you can have peace (Philippians 4:7)
You are never alone. (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6)
He is your strength (Isaiah 40:31)
You are His child (John 1:12)