I was walking home from church yesterday and used the time to have a conversation with the Lord. As I approached an overpass, I commented to the Lord how level and straight the pathway was. “Is this how narrow the path is that leads to heaven Lord?” I commented how it was wide enough to allow me and one other person to walk comfortably side by side. As I put my feet upon the path, I thought more. Along side the overpass was a guardrail and a fence. I chuckled thinking, “There are no guardrails on the path to heaven, are there Lord? We can wander off the path any time we choose. It's not a wise choice, but it's one we can freely make.” Then I thought, “To go off the path here, I'd have to hop up on the guardrail and then climb the fence (that curved in at the top), so it would take great effort for me to get over to the other side.”
It's so much easier to veer off the path that God has placed us on, but the thought process is still the same and we give birth to sin.
- Our mind is influenced or conceives the idea of leaving the path for something that tempts the flesh, whether it's anger, sex, substance abuse, lying, stealing, etc. Sin then arises when we don't rebuke that thought and take it captive in the name of Jesus.
- We dwell upon those thoughts, inflaming our personal mortal desires and feeding upon our weakness and giving the enemy a stronger foothold, thus another sin feeds upon us as we begin this battle between hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and the conflicting voice of the enemy.
- When I was thinking of how I could get on to the other side of the overpass fence, I was reminded of how, when our thoughts are focused on the sin, we begin to develop a plan on how we can fulfill that sinful desire. Again, another sin is committed by actively planning how we can reach that goal of fulfilling our desire for sin. (“How can I get her to sleep with me?” “I could sell my XBOX to get another fix.” “How can I really embarrass her in front of her friends and make her feel small?” "I'm gonna snatch that guy's cell phone and run.)
- We then sin by putting our plan into action, veering off the path (climbing the fence) and heading in the direction of our desire all the while blocking our the urging of the Holy Spirit to repent and flee sin's enticing pull on our flesh.
- Then our desire is fulfilled. We have consummated our fleshly desire with the enemy's temptation and we are satisfied... for a moment.
Of course, all this occurred to me as I was crossing the overpass (and it wasn't a very long overpass...lol). It reminded me of this scripture found in James 1:12-15 "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
So, what comes next after we've climbed the fence and embraced sin? That depends on our relationship with the Lord. Do we feel convicted? Are we ashamed? Are we repentant? (or) Are we satisfied where we are... fulfilling our sinful desires? Do we believe we can remain in sin and still have a relationship with God? Will we find a compromise in our beliefs that allows us to sin and still claim we're true born again believers in Christ?
Many have fallen away because of compromise. Many have taken the word of God and have rewritten it in their heart to exclude conviction, hardening their heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Those who choose this have ventured on to another path and forfeited their place on the one true path to salvation and eternity in the glorious presence of the Lord.
Then there are those who consistently repent; who pick themselves up and crawl under the fence to place themselves at the feet of Jesus, begging forgiveness for seeking out the very acts that the Lord despises. Those with a truly repentant heart will receive forgiveness. They are gently placed back on the path that leads to blessing upon blessing and leads to a great reward. The promise of salvation awaits them, when they will receive their incorruptible and immortal bodies. The promise of living forever in God's glory, in His presence, in His love, in His kingdom awaits them. The promise of ruling with Christ for 1,000 years on earth awaits them. A mansion in the New Jerusalem awaits them. What a wonderful path to be on!
So we must understand that although we don't have any guardrails or fences along the sides of the path we're on, that doesn't give us license to wander off and do our own thing. We're on this path because God called us and we answered that call. We can just as easily find ourselves traveling down another path if take our eyes off Jesus. Stay strong. Keep the faith. When the enemy comes up along side the path and begins showing you those things that begin stirring up sin in your life, stop, rebuke him, get on your knees or on your face, seek the Lord and His strength. Then get up and let God be a strength to others through you and the battles He has fought with you. God causes you to mature with each battle you win and the more you grow in the Lord, the more He can use you to affect the lives of so many others.
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Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!