Chapter 4: Lies Women Believe About Sin
Day 1: The Truth About Sin
Lie #13: “I can sin and get away with it.”
I heard someone recently classify sin as “what I want to do but I’m not allowed to do.” Can I just start by telling you how destructive that mindset is? It glorifies sin, glamorizes sin, and soon leads to justifying sin because it becomes the focus. And you know what’s not thought of or talked about? The consequence – the “why” part of the “not allowed.”
A.W. Tozer once said, “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”
We like to live on the edge in life – to get as close to the line as possible without falling over. How much can I get away with? How far can I push the boundaries? It starts when we learn to crawl, and the desire in us to rebel never quite goes away.
The key to obedience is not found in that way of thinking. It’s not found in thinking about sin at all. It’s found in thinking about Jesus, his sacrifice for us, and the incredible consequences of our sin; both in eternity and here and now.
All sin is deadly, dangerous and destructive. There is no safe sin. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. It doesn’t say the wages of murder is death. It says sin. Any sin. It doesn’t clarify quantity, either. Even a single sin brings about death. In the garden of Eden, one sin started a progression of serious consequences that left a lasting affect on all of us to this very day. And one sin doesn’t stay just one sin – it turns into another and another and another.
You’ve no doubt heard the story of the scorpion and the frog. A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When the frog asks the scorpion why, the scorpion replies, “Blame me not! It is not my fault; it is that of my nature.” So it is with sin. It promises pleasure but it delivers pain. Why? It’s simply its nature.
Dressing up sin doesn’t change its nature. Calling it by a different name doesn’t change its nature. It will always deliver death and destructive in our lives. And if you were to take a few minutes to consider your own life, I think you’d agree that it’s true. Every time you’ve thought you could get away with something, you never really did. Maybe the consequence came immediately, or maybe it took a few weeks, months, or even years. But there is always a consequence.
I see this time and time again in working with people who are overcoming life-dominating problems. Often we work with people who are court-ordered. And I can’t tell you how many times someone who has been court-ordered decided to leave a few weeks or days early… only to be caught, violated, and put in prison for a long time. Why did they leave? A relationship. A drug. Money. Sin. Sometimes it was because they had been messing around while in the program and thought they wouldn’t get caught. But they did. And the consequences were far greater than they realized.
Sometimes we are lulled into a false sense of security, because the first time or two we try some sin, it doesn’t hurt so bad. No one finds out. So we think we can manage it – but the tables are quickly turned as we become controlled instead. I knew of someone who had multiple legal issues spanning a period of several years, yet somehow managed to only ever get a slap on the wrist. The final slap on the wrist was drug-court. His first time there he learned that he was allowed to test positive for drugs 2 times before legal action was taken. So guess what he did? Well, his birthday was around the corner – so he used. He got a slap on the wrist. Then the 4th of July came… and another slap on the wrist. But then he couldn’t help it; a few weeks later, he went out and got high again. The third time. But this time he didn’t get a slap on the wrist – he got 5 years.
Why do people continue in destructive life-cycles? Not enough consequences. If it doesn’t cost me, I’ll keep doing it. But then it becomes, if it doesn’t cost me “xyz,” I’ll keep doing it. And then the bargaining continues until there’s nothing left.
But you know what? It doesn’t have to be what we would call a “big sin.” What about gossip? I’ts not like it hurts anyone. Yes, it does. It’s not like they’ll find out. Yes, they will. What will it take to open your eyes – losing a friend? Being gossiped about yourself?
What about anger? It’s only hurting me. No, it’s not. I can manage this. No, you can’t. It’s not a big deal. Yes, it is. Maybe the heart-attack will wake you up. Maybe being fired? Maybe losing your loved ones.
All sin can become life-dominating. There are consequences to every sin. Sometimes we’re fully aware of them but decide to sin anyway! Why? Because we think the pleasure outweighs the pain. But it never does – the pleasure is always short-lived, and then the pain comes crashing in. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes circumstantial — sometimes it’s all of the above. But it’s painful. Why? Because the reason God told us not to is for our benefit, not our demise. The reason God told us to do is becasue he wants us to experience blessings, not curses. But we look at God’s law, at God’s direction for our lives, and we argue like a child who wants to play in the street or doesn’t want to clean their room, and we never get past the desire for instant-gratification that’s controlling us. We don’t see the consequences. We don’t think ahead. And we suffer greatly as a result.
Sometimes we’re even okay with suffering for our sin. In our minds it can even justify what we’re doing – we’re already being punished, so in our minds, it’s restitution. Besides, ut it doesn’t work that way. And let’s be real: our consequences rarely affect only us. They affect our relationships. They affect our spouses or kids. They can affect our work performance. They affect everyone around us – and sometimes our loved ones are affected more than we ourselves are.
So why do we do it? We want to sin. Our pride says we can. We give lies their power because we want to believe them; we want to believe we can sin and get away with it. We dismiss and minimize consequences; and in doing so, we dismiss and minimize the sacrifice of Jesus.
Even if we somehow managed to live life without the consequences of sin, we still have to deal with eternity. Once we begin a relationship with Jesus where we make him our Lord and Master, we can no longer continue in sin, trying to push the limits and see how far like the world we can get. This cheapens the cross of Christ. Jesus died for your sin – not only do you face consequences, but Jesus faced consequences.
Let’s take a step back. Think for a minute about what you want your life to look like. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to be at peace? To be faithful and trustworthy? When we choose sin, such as gluttony, anxiety, and lying, we disqualify ourselves from those things in the future. But we don’t think about that at the time, do we? We think about here and now, now there and then. Don’t sacrifice what you want most for what you want now. It’s never worth it.
Tom Landry (Dallas coach) said, “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.” You know what? That’s God’s job, too. The beautiful thing is that the more we walk in obedience with him, the more he helps us to be obedient (grace), and the more we desire the right things, and want to do the hard things, becasue we know what’s on the other side.
Landry also said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” God has a vision for your future, he wants you to thrive, to be faithful, joyful, and trustworthy. To be someone people look up to, love, and respect. But the first step in that transformation is you choosing what you want later more than what you want now. And that requires a commitment to remember the consequences of sin and the promises and blessings for obedience.
When I was the ladies’ night supervisor, I once discovered some of the ladies had managed to sneak in some alcohol and were hiding in the room drinking. It wasn’t pretty. The next morning, as I was cleaning out their room, I discovers one of the bags that they’d brought the alcohol home in, and noticed a sticky-note on it. It had their weekly memory verse on it: “Whoever conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
God knows what we’re doing. There are consequences. If you are experimenting with sin and aren’t experiencing consequences yet, it’s only a matter of time. Don’t mistake God’s patience and mercy for endorsement or ignorance of your sin. He is patient and giving you an opportunity to repent. Take it! See sin for what it really is, and forsake it all. Because if you hold on to it, it will eventually kill you.
Choose life. Walk in obedience.
Key points to remember:
- Sin is dangerous, deadly, and destructive.
- My sin always affects more than just me.
- There are always consequences.
- Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.