Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sin, Twinkies, and Forgiveness

So the other day I was babysitting the kiddos. Actually, Kelly likes to inform me that when it's your own children it isn't babysitting, it's parenting. So the other day I was parenting the kiddos. We needed a couple things from the grocery store so I loaded Emma and Owen up and off we went. When we got there I noticed a wicked, sinful, immoral display; Twinkies were on sale, 2 boxes for $5. Since Kelly wasn't with me, I grabbed a box of Twinkies and a box of cupcakes. Now understand that I completely realize how unhealthy a Twinkie is. I know that it's terrible, will kill me, etc. However, I love me some Twinkies. Or I thought I did. When I finally got around to eating one, it was OK. Not that great, just OK. Then later that night Kelly and I shared a post-dinner Twinkie (don't tell me the romance is dead). And while enjoying this horrendously unhealthy snack, she said, "Twinkies are never as good as you remember them." So I said, "How do you know how I remember them?" Actually, I didn't say that. But I began to think about what she said. And I thought, "That's not just true for Twinkies; that's true for sin."
Sin is never as good as we remember it, is it? We're going along serving Jesus, doing all we can for Him. And then we start to feel the old pull of temptation. The flesh rises up, wants to be gratified. And we begin to think about how enjoyable that sin is, how much fun it would be to indulge the flesh "one more time." And so we do. But what I've discovered in my life, and what I'm sure you've discovered, is that sin is never as good as I remember it being. The overwhelming guilt, the shame knowing that I've rebelled against my King, that I've trampled on the blood of Jesus outweighs any temporary pleasure I get from the sin itself.
Now that doesn't mean that sin isn't pleasurable. Of course it is; if it wasn't, it wouldn't be temptation, right? The Bible references the temporary enjoyment that sin affords in Hebrews 11:24-25: "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Notice that the Bible makes no attempt to hide the enjoyment of sin. Sin is fun. The flesh loves to be gratified, and when we engage in sin, it's always enjoyable; for a little while. But just as this verse reminds us, the pleasures of sin are passing. That means they won't last. And at the end of the day, when we come back to our senses and realize we're breaking God's law, all the enjoyment ends. We are brought face to face with our own iniquity, and must plead the blood of Jesus once again.
I know a guy who dated a girl on and off for several years. They would break up, get back together, break up, get back together, etc. I asked him why they continued in this cycle, and his answer was telling. He said, "When we're not together I miss her, I wish I was with her. But then when we get back together I'm reminded of why we broke up in the first place." Isn't that just like our struggle with sin? We turned our backs on it because we saw the end result. We saw that we stood condemned before a holy God, and we repented. But then the flesh began to desire gratification. And we turned back to our sin. And about the time we got neck deep in it, we remembered why we repented of it in the first place. Sin is never as good as we remember it. So when you're tempted, look beyond the temporary pleasure. Look to the end result of your sin. Realize that you're trading in eternal joy for temporary pleasure. And choose to find your pleasure in the surpassing greatness of Jesus Christ, rather than the temporal things of this world.

Father, forgive me for sinning against You. Forgive me for turning my back on the eternal and embracing the temporal. Forgive me for comparing Your greatness with the things of this world. Forgive me for choosing them over You. Help me to see Your all-surpassing majesty. Help me to see how incredible, how magnificent You are. And when I'm tempted, help me to remember the end result of my sin. Help me to run from it and run to You. Amen.

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