Sin brings pleasure, but not satisfaction. It brings ruin, never flourishing. Disobeying God sounds good somewhere in the bowels of decision-making, but it always dead-ends.
I wish someone would’ve explained this to me growing up. Like, I knew it instinctually. I had experienced the brief rush of out-classing a friend in name-calling at the third grade lunch table. And I knew a thing or two about the thrill of getting away with something the parents didn’t know about. But I never had words for the emptiness that followed.
A hundred decisions a day
All of us have this longing within us, and it must be satisfied, so we seek satisfaction. But those moments are crucial. Do we seek Christ, which often brings pleasure but sometimes doesn’t (besides the pleasure of obedience), or do we seek pure, fleeting pleasure (aka sin)? And it’s a hundred of these decisions a day.
Like, just yesterday: Do I chill on the couch another five minutes or get up to break up a fight between my boys? Do I listen to another sixth grade boy’s highlight reel of the week’s video game ventures or yell, “ENOUGH!” (joking?)? Should I click on that Instagram hashtag, even though it might lead me to half-appropriate pictures and half-inappropriate pictures?
We both know the list goes on and on. But the universal truth remains: as pleasurable as sin is, it brings about personal ruin. It ruins us. It distorts our character, thus stripping away our humanity layer by layer.
Sin creates a hungrier life, not a happier life.
For us, then, how sobering to remember that we both stand upon the cliff-face of personal ruin. As Russell Moore writes, “We are all a single step away from ruining our lives.” Indulging in just one more sin might be the end of all we hold dear. Beware.
But I believe the inverse holds true. We are also a single step away from starting over. For us in personal ruin, looking for a second chance (or fiftieth chance!), we can start over today. Just look to Jesus’ grace, extended to us right now, and simply start over. Like the younger son walking home being embraced by his running father.
C.S. Lewis illustrates this point with a little rotten boy named Eustace. His selfishness and greed (two traits we all possess!) cause him to turn into a dragon. Horrified, he futilely attempts to rip off his hardened scales, but can do nothing. Only Aslan, the Great Lion – Lewis’ depiction of Jesus – can help.
Truth is, if you are lost in sin and feel the ruin – if you view yourself as a dragon – then turn to Jesus. He will rake off your scales. And it will hurt, trust me. Things in your life will have to shift around. And this will hurt. But as Eustace says in the books, it’s a “delicious pain.” The pleasure of obedience will soon outshine the pleasure of sin.
And that is a beautiful place to be.
Copyright © 2020 by Justin Talbert @ https://getgroundedministries.com . Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.