Romans 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
I could not help but think of this verse and the topic of the deception of sin this morning. As a pastor, I have the privilege of speaking and counseling with many people. My heart often breaks for those who are grieved by the choices of the family they love. Fathers and mothers praying and pleading with their children and grandchildren; kids hoping and praying that their family will stop sending them to church on the church van and actually come with them one Sunday morning; a strained relationship between spouses that weighs heavy on their heart. Unfortunately, I could go on and on. Why so much heartache? Why so much hurt and confusion? It is a simple answer, with devastating consequences – sin.
Satan has fed mankind the lie that sin is not that big of a deal, and there are no consequences to deal with. When that young lady decides to take that first drink of alcohol, she never plans on becoming a drunk who ruins her family, and even worse, takes the life of a innocent bystander because of her choice to drink and drive. That young man, when he decides for the first time to search and find pornography on the internet, never thinks that eventually his heart will grow away from his wife and kids and he seek immorality with another woman and tear his family apart and scar his children for life. Often, when faced with the temptation of sin, we do not consider the long-term consequences that it will bring. Unlike Moses, we decided to enjoy the pleasures of sin, but that pleasure is fleeting. We have been deceived, and the pain and destruction can last a lifetime.
But God has not left us without an answer.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What is needed today is honesty. Honesty with ourselves – yes, we have a sin problem. No more excuses. And honesty with God – God, I am a sinner. By your Holy Spirit working through me, help me to recognize my besetting sin and lay it aside. Let’s make this our prayer today.