It seems that most of my posts thus far on this blog have had something to do with church or Christianity in one way or another. I’m finding more and more that as I get older, that is my life. My job is a necessity to provide an income and thus take care of our needs like food and clothes. We get a lot of our wants that way, too. It’s becoming abundantly clear, however, that without God it wouldn’t be possible. So, yes, my job is a necessity, but it isn’t my life. My life is my God, my family and my church.
What is always present, although not always evident, in every Christian’s life is a constant battle between the flesh and the new nature and desire that God gives us. A confession – I struggle to remember that. It’s easy for me to see sin in someone’s life, and even easier for me to decide what they should do about it. It’s usually a thought such as, “Just stop listening to that music,” or, “Just stop hanging around that person!” What I fail to recognize many times, however, is that it is extremely likely just as easy for someone to look at me and see sin in my life. Oh, I like to think I have the ‘big’ and ‘easy’ ones covered, but if I’m honest with myself and allow God to search my heart, it becomes quickly evident that I’m not perfect either.
Temptation is real, sin is real, and God still hates it. The problem comes in where our two natures go against each other in how to deal with a temptation. Our old man faces that temptation and longs to partake in whatever sin is presented before him. Our new man wants to please God, forsaking the temptation and that sin.
What makes the problem worse is when we give in to something ‘small’, it gives the devil a foothold. We progress in sin. That ‘small’ thing turns into something just a little bigger, just a little more risky. Before we know it, we don’t give that sin a second thought. We become so entranced by it, that our conscience becomes seared and we simply don’t see anything wrong with it.
So there’s the initial battle – the one where we first deal with a temptation. The man we feed (the old or the new – carnal things or Spiritual things) will determine the one that wins in that temptation face-off. From there, a large portion of our path forward is already decided. If the old man wins that battle and we drift into sin, another battle comes when we finally realize that what we’re doing is in fact sin. We struggle with how we got there, seemingly forgetting those ‘small’ things we gave in to. We then struggle with how to get rid of that sin. Sometimes it’s not so hard – stop listening to worldly music (I always come back to that one, don’t I?). Other times, however, it’s not so cut and dry. What about someone who’s in adultery? How about a gripping drug addiction?
The easiest answer is to never have let that happen in the first place. The real answer (albeit admittedly simplified as well) is that it will take a while, but with God’s strength, grace and leadership, that sin can be overcome.
The point of this post? Let’s make sure the ‘small’ things matter to us. When we start giving ground there, we open the door for bigger things to take control of our lives. It’s always a battle. But if we fight the smaller battles in God’s name, not all, but many of the larger ones can be avoided altogether.