“They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.” 2 Peter 2:19-21
People spend a great deal of time trying to guess out the “gray areas” of life, and by doing so, justify their actions, rather than focus on repentance and offering an open and willing heart to God. It’s telling of what motivations lie behind our actions and lifestyles here on Earth. God has been bringing forth some challenging thoughts and situations in the past month, causing me to think deeper and sort out what I believe. It’s been really neat—especially lately—opening the Word to my seemingly next logical chapter or book of reading, and subsequently being blown away by answers to my questions. Seek and ye shall find, much? Whether the questions posed have been brought to the fore based on current events nationally, internationally, or just events in my own niche of the world, what I have discovered is that everything boils down to the solution found in being in right standing with God. Bottom line: if my heart isn’t completely given to God—if I am not daily crucifying my flesh by laying down my life at the foot of the cross and making God the center of my life, then yes, I’m going to find myself gradually, if not suddenly, getting stuck in the mire of sin that can so easily swallow us up if we aren’t vigilant about our focus on Christ. Now, I am by no means denying that the flesh gets the best of us sometimes, that we’re not perfect and that sometimes we as Christians, in our human frailty, give in to temptation. But when slip-ups become a pattern of sin in our lives, the question begs to be asked and answered: who is steering our life course? Certainly not God. We are much more susceptible to believing the lies of the enemy and giving into temptation when we aren’t constantly putting on the full armor of God, prepared to fight hard to give Him glory over our lives.
Then the next question is, how come so many of us as Christians fall into sin, or get out but continue to fall? What if our life ends and we’re still helplessly struggling in this area? First of all, I’m not going to pretend that in my finite mind, I know the absolute answer. But what I do know, is what my Bible tells me, and what the Holy Spirit reveals to me through it. 1 Peter 4: 5 tells us that everyone, the living and the dead alike, will face judgment when this world ends. Re-read the verses I opened with. These 3 verses provided the answer to every single one of the questions I alluded to having dealt with in the past month. Again, not denying that we are susceptible to sin, but if we truly have experienced and accepted God’s immense grace and salvation for our lives, and have chosen Him above all else, our lifestyle changes drastically. When we are so in love with Jesus, we can’t even bare to think of living life without Him again. When we don’t know the answer to our questions or how to act, we should run to the Word and seek Godly counsel. As the verses say, to have escaped eternal death and to know Jesus, but to later spit in Jesus’ face and choose to go back and get entangled in a lifestyle of sin again, we are much worse off than if we’d never known God’s grace. Imagine standing before Jesus and having to explain that one—”I know you made the greatest sacrifice of all time, but I chose to trade in eternal life for a few years of sin here on Earth because you’re not good enough for me.” Every action we take, every word uttered, is a tell-tale sign of our heart and its response to God. Are we serving God, or our flesh?
God’s plan for our lives isn’t a huge list of “do’s and don’ts”, otherwise that’s exactly all it would be—and what a dull, pointless life it would be indeed! God wants us to choose Him, and that requires listening to Him—through the reading of His Word and the beckoning of the Holy Spirit. When we are consistently choosing Jesus and remaining in the Word, making the “right” choices and doing or knowing the “right” thing becomes more obvious to us—and by that I mean that more and more we question our motives, and whether our choices will ultimately make Jesus’ name famous. I’m not saying that we will always choose the right thing *human frailty alert*, but if we tune into God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, even when we mess up, He’ll gently show us our err so that we can correct ourselves and remain, not deviate, from our path of purpose. By maintaining a repentant posture of life, it’ll be so much harder to succumb to the ways of the world, being fully aware of the safety, salvation and promises God has for each and every one of us.
“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but eh sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:1-