Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sometimes We Over-think Sin Problems

I’m going through some articles that I have written in the past and trying to bring a few of them out of the vault.  This one was posted back in 2009. 


Sometimes counseling teenagers can cause head-scratching and heartache. The same is true of counseling my own heart.  I have counseled numerous teenagers that were crying in my office because they could not conquer a particular sin. My wife and I have counseled girls that are struggling with "boy issues" (e.g., their immaturity, their jerkiness, and their selfishness). And I have counseled young men that are struggling with "boy issues" (lust, pornography, anger). One thing always astonishes me...and this astonishes me about my own heart as well; we wallow in sin and plead with God to stir our affections at the same time.

It seems to me that the wisest thing to do would be to flee from the sin. Usually when pressed young men can figure out the source of their lust. Unless your conscience is ridiculously seared (and that is possible) you know when you are "crossing the line". That is why if you are in union with Christ such sin is ridiculous. Please do not misunderstand me; I have a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy with young men that struggle with these issues (as well as young women that "like" guys that they shouldn't). However, there comes a time when we need to confront the ignorance behind such sin.

"I'm not sure why my girlfriend and I messed up. I mean I know we were both in our swimming suits. And I know that she probably should not have been sitting on my lap. And I guess it was silly for us to try to help out each other not get a sunburn. And yes I know the likelihood of getting a sunburn "there" is improbable. But I really prayed before we went swimming because I knew it might be tough. Do I need to read my Bible more, you think? Should I have prayed harder? I really tried not to fall into this sin, why did God not help me out more. Why did he not deliver me from evil?"

Well, you see he did. Jesus delivered you from evil when he disarmed the power of Satan on the Cross. He robbed sin of its power when he brought you out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred you into the kingdom of Jesus. The principle of death has died in your heart so you no longer have to be a slave to these passions; He has supplanted that principle of death by making you alive with Christ. He has conquered sin. The problem is you are going back to it. The problem is you run away from his kingdom and sit in the filth of the old one. And you wonder why you fall?

The prodigal son did not cry out from his pig slop "Father come save me". He remembered the steadfast love of the Father, got out of the pig slop and ran back to where he belonged. So, here is the solution: stop letting your girlfriend sit on your lap, stop rubbing her down with sun tan lotion, and stop swimming half-naked. Sin is serious and it is deceptive. But it has been defeated. Live like it.

The problem is that we sometimes secretly want the fleeting pleasures of sin. This is why we need to pray that the Lord might "stir our affections" and root out of our hearts sin and unbelief. But that prayer does not mean that you stay in the pig slop. If you are a believer the death of Christ has conquered the heart that longs for pig slop; just get out of it. And if you ever find yourself wandering back remember the love of the Father, repent, and get out of the pig slop and go read 1 John 1:9.

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