The weather in Phoenix has been absolutely wonderful these past couple of weeks. The temperature has constantly been in the mid 60s to 70s in the morning and then warms up to the 90s in the afternoon. This has been a dramatic change from the 110 degree weather we experienced throughout the summer. Last week I worked off duty doing traffic control at a busy intersection in Phoenix. The morning was beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the 70s. I only spent three hours doing traffic control. The temperature slowly rose to 94 degrees and the sun also slowly rose to its daily peak. At the end of my three hour shift, I realized that I was dehydrated, and my arms and lower portion of my face were sun burned. Since the weather was cooler than I was used to, I didn’t think about putting sun block on. What happened? I was slowly consumed by the sun.
The same thing occurs with sin in our lives. First what is sin? Sin is disobeying and breaking God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sin could also be thought of as “missing the mark(1).” Think about the areas where you have compromised your integrity, beliefs or values. It could be something as small as leaving work early and being paid for that time. It could be getting too much change back and knowingly not returning the extra money. It could be looking at a woman or man with lustful feelings. All of these things may seem small or insignificant, but they will eventually lead to being consumed with sin. I am reminded of the story of David and Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12). David’s first sin was looking at Bathsheba with lustful intentions while she was taking a bath. This eventually led to David being consumed in sin. David committed adultery with Bathsheba (David and Bathsheba were both married to separate people), got her pregnant, and eventually had her husband killed to cover his sin.
Now, these are extreme examples of how sin consumes. I am sure we all know someone who has been consumed by sin, or maybe it is even those of you reading this now. I know in my own life I have strayed away from the Lord in the past and got caught up with doing things that I should not have been doing. I remember one day asking myself, “What happened? How did I get to this point?” The answer is simple, I did not heed the warning of Paul in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” The reason we must not conform to this world is because sin, worldliness, the flesh etc … will eventually consume us. Whether it is compromising our integrity, beliefs, values, or it could be watching certain movies or TV shows, listening to different kinds of music, what we say or do, or getting caught up in the materialism and consumerism of our culture; the ways of the world will eventually consume us and lead us away from the Lord.
So how do we keep from being consumed? First, we need to do what Paul said in Romans 12:1, “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Our bodies are not just vessels that house our souls. Our bodies were created by God, and the Holy Spirit lives inside you when you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. We need to respect our bodies by not engaging in destructive behavior (i.e. alcohol, drugs, sex, abusive language etc…). We also need to avoid and make a conscious decision not to engage in sinful behavior. Second, when you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, Paul said that our old self and lives were crucified which means we no longer live for our own wants or desires, but now Christ lives inside us so we need to live to serve Him (Galatians 2:20). We need to live daily for Christ and not just on Sunday’s or Wednesday’s. Do you act differently at work than you do with your family or at Church (i.e. use curse words, engage in gossip, tell dirty jokes)? If so then you are allowing yourself to be compromised and consumed. Finally, we need to pray and meditate on God’s word daily. Psalm 119:11 says to hide God’s word in our hearts so that we do not sin against God. When we daily read the Bible, pray and confess our sins (Psalm 51:10), we are able to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b).
Being consumed by sin does not happen all at once. It is a slow gradual process. When I was outside in the sun, I was not scorched all at once, it happened slowly. It is easy to get caught up in this world. It is easy to try to reason and justify our actions. Eventually, sin will consume you. Do not allow this to happen. Rather be consumed by God. My prayer is this:
Heavenly Father. I do not want to be consumed by sin or the ways of this world. I do not want to conform to this world, but rather conform to You and Your ways. Lord transform my mind. Forgive me of my sins, and renew my mind and spirit. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and guide me, teach me, and lead me down the paths of righteousness. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
(1) Fairchild, M. (2011). What is Sin? About.com. Par 1. Retrieved October 26, 2011 from http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/f/whatissin.htm
Romans 12:1-2 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.