Theologian Lyman Abbott noted that “every life is a march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice.”
I have marched myself thru plenty of temptation and found myself in the midst all kinds of vices. The ease and quick promise of satisfaction is so tempting and I failed over and over again. I failed and I was forgiven. I didn’t go running back into it with reckless abandon, but I did end up back in it.
There are many questions in my mind these days. One is to the choices we make and what’s the point if we end up being forgiven for any wrong doing? That’s a common question of Christianity. If we can ask forgiveness later, why not go ahead and do the deed? I can only answer with personal experience. Did you ever do something that felt really good while you were doing it, but then you didn’t really want anyone to know that you had done it when it was over? That’s the point of it all. We have a rule book. We have guidelines. We have a truth and it’s not subjective. When we go against what is naturally in us to abstain from, we “feel” the wrong direction being taken. It may feel nice to be in the middle of the journey at that time. But when the journey is over, how we feel then is an immediate indication for whether or not we took a wrong turn. That’s the beginning. The rest is the point that we are scarring ourselves and those who may be involved in our wrong choices as we journey down the easy path. Yes God forgives us our sins. But He also promised that we will have consequences for them. These consequences are real and they come in many forms that can leave you physically or spiritually scarred for life. They can even kill you. When there is a real consequence for your actions, it should make you think twice before acting on your impulses. It should. But sin is tempting and seductive and a really good liar.
I have seen the light and I have had my eyes washed clean to see the truth. In the light of the truth I see more clearly that the wrong choice leads to consequences and scarring. So, with a sober mind, I choose the harder path that leads to no consequences. It has rewards and they differ each time. But it has no consequences and it leaves me with a clear conscience and a sense of peace. I have plenty for which to ask forgiveness. But the old self, the old bad choices, those aren’t on the playing field anymore. The enemy has to be more clever now. Oh and he is clever. But my God is greater and my God loves me with reckless abandon. He seeks my heart and my love. He desires for my well being within the context of what He has shown me to be right and true and lovely and honest. He is a kind, gentle, and selfless God who, for some reason, puts me on a pedestal. I am loved! Greatly loved! Why not go ahead and sin if God will forgive you any way? But why? Why do that to the Father who loves me? Why put Him through something so painful and grieving when I could easily say no to the temptation and choose a more righteous path? Why not take a higher road and relieve myself of the chains of temptation by sacrificing my want for the needs of others? Why not strive to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Those are things to achieve in life. Satisfying my immediate and fleshly desires does not feel so noble in the midst of such beauty. I am strong enough to be the only one to do the right thing. And where does my strength come from? It comes from The Lord!
Have a tremendous day today. Believe in something greater than yourself. Allow room for God to work in your life and you WILL see things change for the better. Maybe harder and seemingly painful at first as you have to smooth out some rough edges. But shedding the old skin for the new is worth every step. Believe me. I can tell you from experience that the path which leads to grace is the one you want to be on. March through that temptation today and find the virtue which leads to healing and peace on the other side. You’re worth it!