Sin doesn’t “just” explode. Let me rephrase–sin explodes, and it seems spontaneous, but it isn’t. Solomon captured it well. After describing a naive young man’s journey through town at dusk–and the woman of the night’s many preparations–“all at once” he finds himself in trouble. All at once he is “caught fast,” not knowing it will cost him his life. (Proverbs 7:22-23).
The truth is that he ended up on that street at that time of day by placing one foot after the other. He had thoughts–or failed to reign in thoughts–of pleasure and desire. He made choices to turn right, then left, one step at a time.
Sin is like that. It wasn’t our plan to end up in a pit of despair, under financial burdens, gasping for air in strained or broken relationships. We didn’t know it would feel like this; that it would be like this. The end result wasn’t our choice–but we would have to admit it is the practical end of a series of choices.
How do we escape? What do we do when sin has exploded and our world is full of shrapnel? In that case there is a hard word and a good word. The hard word is that consequences are consequences. Our sadness and regret doesn’t remove suffering. The good word is that God is always ready and willing to forgive. When we come to God in brokenness, willing to do life His way instead of ours, we can get on right terms because of Jesus. By faith in His death and resurrection, we can give up our “rights,” be reconciled and come near to God. In His death, Jesus became our substitute. He took our punishment and exchanged our sin for His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In turning back to God and away from our desire to sin–read, “do it my way instead of His”–God will give us the power that raised Jesus from the dead. He wants us to live victoriously! (Romans 6:4) We are free from guilt and shame. We can take our thoughts captive, overcome sinful desires, and put God first. And on and on it goes, asking for grace to make choices that please Him; to live life differently (2 Corinthians 5:15).
So how do I turn it around before it explodes? The apostle Paul says we
reap what we sow. Looking back–step by step–that young man “sowed” a path that led to trouble. We can choose, right now, today, to sow seeds of the Spirit (God’s way) or seeds of the flesh (my way). I can obey and trust God or manipulate people and circumstances to get what I want. Planting spiritual seeds comes in the form of prayer–living dependently on God instead of myself–loving others instead of using them, serving instead of expecting to be served, listening instead of talking, giving instead of taking. It’s living in a way that looks more like Jesus than myself. Seeds are sown in kind, gracious words, a heart that is tender and sees its own faults.
Sinful choices bring gut-wrenching, destructive, deadly fruit. Godly choices result in untold blessing and a clear conscience. We choose what we sow, but we can’t control the fruit. Once filled, the head of grain is what it is. The choice was made over time, step by step. The consequences are out of your hands–for better…or for worse.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:1-10 ESV)
By Sydney Millage