And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -1 Corinthians 6:11
The passage above is Paul's finishing touch on his statement that "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God." He lists some of those unrighteous acts: idolatry, adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, greed, drunkenness, swindling and thievery. It is a list as long as your arm of those acts that human nature tells us are against common decency. That nature (God’s law) is written on our hearts. Although many today would deny that, it remains a biblical fact, and our society’s frantic attempts to justify its actions prove the point. It’s not just perverts and thugs hiding out in back alleys who go for this kind of stuff these days. We see it, oftentimes celebrated, via virtually every media outlet in America. It's the new normal.
But here lies the tragedy; the media and sitcoms don’t show the end results. They don’t show men and women trapped by pornography, alcoholism, and greed destroying their lives and their families and denigrating human beings (mostly women) in the process. They quietly push to the back pages the reality that one in four teenagers in America is fighting a sexually transmitted disease. The "freedom" that is celebrated reveals itself to be a trap, and although we may convince ourselves that we are the exception to the rule—that we can control the sin—that thinking always proves spiritually fatal in the end. A little peek here, a secret text there, just one more drink (or drag, or hit) and then we find that we cannot stop. It's no longer a game, it's become a compulsion. For believers, the guilt sets in, and we convince ourselves that we are the immoral ones that God will never allow into his kingdom. We are then left with essentially two options: either fight the long battle back to purity and sanity or find ourselves slipping away, giving in to something that is so easy and so natural, until we really do not care anymore that there is a great God who can and will heal us of our immorality.
I said in last week’s article that the two great weapons that almost all immorality holds are secrecy and anonymity. Break the silence and you go a very long way toward breaking the death grip this lifestyle holds on you. Once the secret is out you have someone in your corner to pray with you, encourage you, and remind you that God offers far greater promises than this world can ever offer, and he delivers in a way this world never can. You begin to fight fire with fire, holding fast to the permanent promises of God over the fleeting pleasures of the world. You remind yourself (daily if you have to) that "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." You begin to find your hope and pleasure in God and not in licentiousness and the cravings of your flesh.
How do you start? By taking the most important step. You confess your sin to God (he knows about it already), then you find a trusted brother or sister and you confess to them and ask them to hold you accountable. You set up safeguards in your life. You steer clear of the locations that lead you down dark paths. You get rid of your Netflix and home movie memberships if you are subtly using them to fuel your lusts. You take steps, yes, but most importantly, you submit your life back to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Then you live in the freedom that only God can offer. Maybe your sin has little or nothing to do with sexual matters - there are other idols driving a wedge between you and fellowship with God. The battle is engaged in much the same manner regardless of the idol(s) you are fighting.
Do you need additional help? Please call or email me or one of our other pastors/elders. We are ready to assist. We either have (or will find) the resources to help you, and you will have one more person praying for you. Sin, my friends, is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it through the power of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 4:7; Romans 8:13).
Grace and peace,