Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Plusses and Minuses

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
Romans 6:20-21

Occasionally, as I drive around Nashville, I will see a homeless person with a dog on the side of the road asking for money. This always leaves me with very conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I'm happy that this dog can meet some real needs in his owner's life. A dog can help keep him safe and warm at night. It serves as a much needed companion. On the other hand, that dog may just be the one thing anchoring its owner to homelessness. I don't think a person can stay overnight at the mission with a pet. It would be near impossible to go through a jobs program or even get a job, because he wouldn't have anywhere to put his dog while he was working. It pains me to think of having to be in this position where I would have to choose between my pet and opportunities to get back on my feet again. This dog may be the only lifeline this individual has left, their only emotional support in this world, and it may at the very same time be preventing him from getting off the streets. What a terrible position to be in. 

The above verses make me think of this, because I think our sin operates the same way for many of us. Sin works its way deep into our lives because we are convinced that it meets a real need, even if it does so while creating other problems. Maybe you get drunk because it's the only way you know to numb the pain. Or maybe you are sexually promiscuous because it makes you feel loved and happy, for at least a little while. Maybe you turn to pornography because it helps you meets your sexual desires. But I challenge you to take stock of the costs of the sins you are caught up in. When you really look at it, are they worth it? 

I know I am asking you to let go of a behavior that just may be the only thing keeping you hanging on, but it also might be the one thing holding you back. The truth is that no matter what side benefit sin brings into your life it ALWAYS results in death. Sin always brings pain, dysfunction, difficulty, and separation from God. I guarantee that it's hurting you more than it's helping. So why not let go of  your sin coping mechanism and let God take a crack at your problems instead.

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