“But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” (Jer 23:22)
I have been thinking a lot about why it is so hard to live the life we should live. One reason I think it is hard is that we don’t stand in God’s council. We don’t see the world the way it really is.
1. We don’t see that every good thing we have is actually from God, or what our life would be apart from God, if he hadn’t blessed us.
“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” (I Cor 4:7)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17)
“he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else….For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:25, 28)
“I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you…you became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.… ‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute.” Ez 16
2. We don’t see that what we do matters, that sin matters.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)
THE REALITY IS, SIN GROWS.
Every day, without even thinking about it, we are grumpy, bitter, ungrateful, selfish, envious, worldly, greedy, lazy, lustful. These are normal, human things to experience. But do we take them seriously? They are still sins, and if they are not dealt with, they will grow, and incite a progression that can lead to our spiritual death. That is what the verse in James 1 says.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Heb 12:15
This verse is a great illustration of how bitterness can start out as a root, and grow up to cause much trouble. Sin starts with small things. If we don’t deal with these small things, they grow into bigger things that are much more difficult to control, and cause much more destruction.
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14)
This is the verse that precedes the one about not allowing a bitter root to grow up. Although we are covered by grace, we are to make every effort to be holy. The reality is, it matters how we live our life. If we live our lives the way we want to in worldliness, if we don’t strive to be holy, we will not see God.
“Do not give the devil a foothold.” Eph 4:27
If we don’t deal with sin, we are giving the devil a foothold in our life.
“And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt 5:30)
It is real. Jesus said it. If we don’t deal with our sin, we will go to hell. And lest we think this only applies to big sins like murder or adultery, Jesus makes it clear that it is the little things too, “anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment,” and, “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt 5:22.28)
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life ” (Gal 6:7-8)