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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”—Numbers 32:23 (NIV)
No one will ever find out!
I can vividly remember repeating this mantra on a regular basis early on in my life. If I could get away with it, I believed none would be the wiser. Making selfish decisions? No problem—as long as nobody knew.
Free will is such a wonderful concept. But it’s also very dangerous. Born with the ability to exercise our own judgment, our lives are comprised by the sum of our decisions. These choices are determined by whom we chose to serve. The idols we elect to worship determine the legacy we ultimately leave.
Consider James’ warning to Jewish Christians: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4 NIV).
Ever stop to consider how easy it is to become a friend of the world? The temptations are endless.
Having escaped Egypt, Moses issued God’s directive regarding the Promised Land of Israel. Wishing to refrain from crossing the Jordan River, the men of two-and-a-half Israelite tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh), decide instead to arm themselves for battle and assist the other tribes in possessing the land from their enemies. Moses advises them to change their minds because their sin against God would surely be revealed. Their decision to fight for their fellow Jews was rooted in an understanding that God sees all.
What about you? What keeps you from willful and outright sin? For some, the realization of potential consequences is enough of a deterrent to refrain. For others, the thought of having their sin exposed is more than they can bear. There are, of course, others who plow ahead without thought to who is affected nor the harm their actions produce.
One of the greatest deterrents to sin is the prospect of revealing it to others. It is not until our sin is exposed that remorse is realized. Can you relate? If only we could turn back the hands of time to rethink and redo our actions. The free will we enjoy can be a double-edged sword. Choose wisely and enjoy the blessings of God; otherwise your sin will eventually be revealed.
DIG: Do the people and places (websites, friends, etc.) you frequent serve to honor or dishonor God?
DISCOVER: What deterrents (safeguards) do you set up for yourself to keep from sinning? What are your “non-negotiables”?
DISPLAY: What is one pervasive sin are you willing to say goodbye to today?