Thursday, September 10, 2015

Run As Fast As You Can

     Recently, the name of a pastor/teacher was linked to the Ashley Madison site where people go to find someone with whom they can have an adulterous relationship.  I was very surprised to read about his name.  He admitted signing up out of an unhealthy curiosity and fantasy but never carried out any further contact.  Still, he has been removed from active ministry for a year.  Isn't it sad how little it takes to derail us in moments of weakness.  However, this is the inevitable result of man's fall.
     Even before the first murder had occurred, God warned Cain with these words in Genesis 4:7:  "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”  Yet, Cain did not heed the voice of God and killed his brother.  He made a bad choice based upon his jealousy and allowed sin to overtake him.
     As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the bondage to sin, but we are never fully free from the old sin nature that would lure us back into behavior that does not glorify God.  This is one reason why we are told repeatedly to flee sin.  Paul writes in Romans 6:12:  "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires."  Before we knew Christ, we had no freedom of choice.  All we chose and desired was to sin.  After our conversion, however, we were given the freedom to choose right or wrong.  We would do well to follow the example of Joseph as told in Genesis Chapter 39.  There we read that Joseph was sold as a slave to an official in the Egyptian court named Potiphar.  Joseph, being blessed by God, prospered in all he did so Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household.  Then, trouble began to brew.  Because Joseph was a handsome young man, Potiphar's wife took notice of him and invited him to come to bed with her.  Joseph refused to violate his master's trust.  Yet, she was persistent day after day.  On one occasion, she grabbed Joseph's cloak begging him to come to bed with her, but he turned and fled leaving his cloak behind.  Potiphar's wife then lied to her husband and the other servants in the house saying that Joseph had tried to violate her.  Certainly, this story stands out as a beacon of encouragement to all those who love the Lord.  Joseph did the right thing.  He ran from sin.  It cost him dearly as he went to prison for an assault he never committed.  As a result of Joseph's obedience to God's laws, the Lord delivered him from prison and placed him in a position of authority.  He made a choice and ran from sin.
     If we contrast that with the life of King David who also had a heart after God's own heart, we see a different story.  In David's confrontation with sin, he gave in to his lust and took another man's wife and sinned with her.  This sin led to a pregnancy that David could not cover over.  As a result, this sin blossomed and took David down the path of murder to eliminate Bathsheba's husband.  He did not run from sin, but gave in to it.  The consequences of his momentary pleasure with another man's wife resulted in the death of his baby, internal strife in his family, and an attempted coup by his own son.
James 1:15 summarizes the process of sin for us:  "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
      We must flee from sin and all unrighteousness because it is clear what destruction follows when we do not.  Joseph made the right choice even though for a time it seems he paid a price.  In the end, he reaped the blessings that come from faithfulness to God.   No one can wink at sin or flirt with it any more than we can play with fire.  The results are that we will get burned and hurt others in the process.  Therefore, we must be prayed up, alert, students of the Bible and accountable to other Christians.  It is not easy to walk in this temptation filled world, but as Christians, we are not our own.  We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and our purpose is to glorify His name and serve as a witness to a lost and dying world.  May God give us the wisdom to know when to run away and the strength to do so that we might not sin against Him.  Selah!

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