Too many Christians do not consider the seriousness of sin. They think that the little sins don't really matter that much; or they think that they can indulge in a sin 'just this once' and still be all right. After all, doesn't the Bible say that, if we confess our sins, God will forgive us?
The biblical record presents a much more dangerous view of sin. The Bible constantly stresses the importance of loving God with all of our being (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27), not just a part of us or only when it's convenient. If we waiver in our devotion to God, we leave ourselves open to temptation from the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The phrase "the world" in the Bible denotes a worldview that is opposed, or indifferent, to God and His will. This worldview simply seeks to fulfill its own wants and desires. The message of this worldview is extremely prominent these days in movies, television, magazines, and music. We receive a huge dose of this worldly philosophy daily. We must be cognizant of its existence and take steps to defend ourselves from its influence.
In the book of Romans, we read:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind... (Romans 12:2 ESV)
Our minds are 'renewed' as we study the Bible, pray, and seek to live as close as we can to Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit is given control over each and every aspect of our lives, we are strengthened to resist the influence of the world's system in which we live.
The Bible gives us specific instructions concerning our behavior as believers. It tells us to stay away from "sexual immorality" (I Thessalonians 4:3) and "every form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:22). Peter tells us to take no interest in the urges of our flesh because they are in direct opposition to our soul (I Peter 2:11).
We are to engage our minds with thinking on the things of God (Philippians 4:8). Every thought must be taken captive in obedience to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).
Devil seeks to destroy:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)
Satan's goal is to thwart God's plan of redemption. The Bible tells us to draw near to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We have a choice to resist the devil or to leave ourselves unprotected against his evil. We must constantly be growing in our relationship with God in order to be safe from the deceit and temptation of Satan.
One should never play with the prospect of sin. One should never believe in such a thing as a "little" sin. One should never believe that they could "sin just this once" and suffer no ill effects. For, once the decision is made to engage in some sin, whether it is a small one or a large one, the process begins which, if not stopped, will result in the shipwreck of one's faith (I Timothy 1:19). One must be vigilant in their relationship with Jesus, in order to have the strength to be able to resist temptation when it comesand it inevitably will come.
How far should a Christian stay from temptation? How far should we stay from a coiled rattlesnake? We must never think that we are impervious to the temptation to sin. Even Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15), although He never sinned. The fact remains that we WILL be tempted. Whether or not we will give in to that temptation and actually commit sin depends on how closely we have been walking with God.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."
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