You are not going to get a sermon from me. I don’t think that’s necessary. Some are loathe to listen to them anyway. I am more effective at visual descriptors and illustrative, descriptive writing to elucidate my points. So with that in mind, I’m gonna dive right in (you’ll get the pun later).
I remember back when I was all-out holy, doing whatever it took to stay on the straight and narrow path. Temptation was abound like potholes on Broadway. You have to be alert at all times in order to dodge them, because if you don’t, your whole front end will get thrown out of alignment. And when you yield to temptation, leading to sin, the same effect that hitting a pothole has on a car — even skirting it and not running over it cleanly — is evident in your life as well. It throws you out of whack, whether it is for a day, or months, or even potentially a LIFETIME. For something that appears to some to be merely an innocuous bump in the road, for others it can negatively hamper their lives forever.
The question that goes through the Christian’s mind when he/she is being tempted and actually (if they be honest and not someone given to fronting to keep up public appearances and therefore are transparent with themselves, God and others) thinking about yielding to the temptation is — “Will I make it back?”
“Will I Make It Back?” What does that mean, you ask?
Sin has a cascading, domino effect on a person’s life. Left unrepentant, the ramifications can last literally a lifetime and even generations to follow (“The sins of the father will visit the sons!”). Never think that you can sin, not repent, and never face the consequences, which multiply like cockroaches. You hatch one, and 1,000 others come to life as land mines, whereas they were dead mines before you activated them with willful sin.
Before you know it, you’ve gotten so far away from where you once were, right with God, pleasing in His sight and where He had you designed to be. Now, months, even YEARS later, you’re still cleaning up messes that stemmed from ONE decision to sin — repentant or not. Even the custodian at Mercy College couldn’t clean that mess up any quicker than the repentant sinner could.
LOOK OUT FOR THE RIP CURRENT.
Sin, the cycle of it all, is much like a day at Jones or Rockaway Beach. Rip currents are dangerous, most beach goers know of this before going to those beaches, so it is always in the backs of their minds.
In the aforementioned example, you wonder if you can ever make it back, and this is the most harrowing and startling example of such.
You start out, 10, 15 feet away from the shore, just swimming and playing in the water with friends. The skies are calm and the winds are swirling. Not ominous, but unbeknownst to some, this is often the precursor to a rip current taking place. It is not the hurricane-type scenario that sucks people into the current, but the seemingly-calm, picturesque visage, which is a lot like what sin appears like to the temptee.
Gradually, you venture out, thinking “I got this, I can handle it”, and you’re now 50, 60 feet out. You’re an avid swimmer, and think you can overcome even 15-20 foot tides. That’s the rush that you get from surfing/bodyboarding, right?
The next thing you know, you’ve unwittingly been taken out 150 feet from shore by a current. You swam your hardest the minute you realized the reverse water flow was pulling you out at an alarming rate.
But by that point, everyone has lost sight of you, because you left your safety net — the fellowship of the saints — in order to yield to your sin. No one realizes you’re not close to the shore until it is too late. The acoustics of the ocean drown out your most ardent shrieks for help (anyone who has actually been out that far on a boat or even swam — as I have — knows no one can hear you beyond about 20-30 feet with oceanwater acoustics at times). By now, you realize your spiritual AND mortal life are in peril, and it is too late for human help to rescue you at this point. The lifeguard left his post before you decided to venture out on your own.
You are 300 feet from shore and developing cramps due to overworking your body to fight the current (much like the sinner does to overcome the mess that their sin created). No one knows you’re that far out, no rescue is imminent.
NOW WHAT DO YOU DO?
A great number of Christians (and obviously those who do not believe) are in that scenario AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT. Examine yourself today and ask God to show you where you are with this analogy that I just created in mind. The response might startle you. And yes, it is literally that realistic in terms of spiritual, and later, mortal death.
Will you still stumble and fall in sin? Yes, but repentance is there. Just don’t get caught unawares and end up further out than you think you are without safety rescue available.
I GOT MY AWAKENING A WHILE BACK, WAS NOT PRETTY.
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