Some days I just feel like throwing caution to the wind and sin. I know it’s wrong. I know it’s common. I use this excuse, that it is common, to justify my thinking about wanting to do that which I know I shouldn’t. Eventually it somehow transfers from shouldn’t to I don’t want to do that. I suppose that is the Holy Spirit at work. The Holy Spirit at work and lots of experiences that have convinced me that sin hurts. It hurts me and those around me. The Bible says it hurts God too; though the possibility of me hurting God is incomprehensible at this point in my life.
So I ask, “Is wanting to sin a temptation? Is being tempted to sin a sin? Is thinking about wanting to do that which God forbids a sin?” I’m reminded of Jesus’ tale of the two sons who were instructed by their father to work the vineyard. One said, “I will not,” but changed his thinking and went. The other told his dad, “I’ll go” but didn’t. Jesus asked, “Which of the two obeyed?” Of course the first son obeyed. Somehow it is the messed up son that decides to obey is the great example in this parable.
Now, I believe I sin when I entertain thoughts that I know God has told me to avoid. But then I think I’ve obeyed God when I think thoughts but do not do them. It’s complicated! Like when I was young, I often thought of beating the bullies at school with a broomstick. If I had been more courageous I might have done it but fear of them taking the broomstick away from me and beating me with it stymied that temptation.
If temptation were limited to one or two areas of my life I might feel I have made some progress in this arena of dealing with sin. If there were some areas God would allow me to separate from my Christianity then I could throw caution to the wind and go for it. As I read the Bible and the Holy Spirit is at work in my life teaching me, guiding me and loving me, I cannot find any area of life that does not belong to God if I am a child of the Father.
Eating is a good place to start. We all do it. It is necessary. God sanctions it. But there are some things I eat I know I should not. Now is that a sin? If God orders me to take care of this “temple” of His and I don’t it is sin. What about the eating too much, is that sin? I think so. What about not eating what I should, is that sin? I reckon. Enough of that, my head will explode if I think too much about food.
What about my time? No, let’s not go there. Sex! Yes, sex, it’s a revealing topic. But there are so many ways to sin in this aspect of life. There is the looking part, it is kind of covered in lust. Then acts of homosexuality, faithfulness to one’s spouse, abstinence, fornication, dressing like a woman when you’re a man, and vice versa, etc. etc. Is there an area of my life that is all my own and God does not meddle? I think not. I think I will just read my Bible every morning to keep me on track as the Spirit empowers me to say “Yes” to that which pleases Him and “No” that those things that bring harm to my present and future.