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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Let the wicked forsake his way . . . Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”—Isaiah 55:7 (NKJV)
We’ve walked alongside Jonah on his journey for the past several days and witnessed many transformational truths. These truths can serve to set our lives in the right direction, which is the exact opposite of where Jonah’s sin initially led him.
Here’s another spiritual reality to add to our list: We must forsake sin.
“Of course, Pastor. You’re not telling me anything new. I already knew that!”
But let me lovingly ask (and I include myself in this question), “If we know we’re to forsake sin, why do we routinely deal with it in so many ways?” Allow me to elaborate.
We often underestimate sin. There are times when something comes along in life, something we know to be wrong. But instead of taking it seriously, we underestimate its strength. We may think it’s not a big deal, it’s never been a problem, or it’s what everyone else is doing. Watch out! God tells us we need to take sin seriously. If we know something falls into that category, we can’t afford to underestimate it.
We often negotiate with sin. Sometimes we let sin take root in our daily routine. We know it doesn’t belong there, but we’ve come to the table with it and have negotiated a deal where it won’t destroy us—as long as we tolerate it to a degree. That never ends well, though, because sin doesn’t stay put. Eventually, it will violate any terms of negotiation.
We often deny sin. That’s right. There are those instances where we would rather deny sin’s presence in our lives. Rather than confront the elephant in the room, we do our best to stay ignorant . . . but it never ends in bliss.
The only way to deal with sin is to do as Isaiah says above: to forsake sin. Don’t underestimate it, take it seriously. Don’t negotiate with it, you don’t have to. Don’t deny it exists, admit its presence. But above all, turn from it! There’s just no substitute for forsaking . . . just as Jonah gave Nineveh the same exhortation: “Yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands” (Jonah 3:8 NKJV).
There are no substitutes for forsaking sin, so don’t accept any!
DIG: What’s the only way to deal with sin?
DISCOVER: What are some common ways we wrongly try to deal with sin?
DISPLAY: What sin are you tempted to underestimate, negotiate with, or deny? Write down these areas of struggle and note what you should do instead. Then pray over this list and ask the Lord to help you overcome these temptations.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.