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Don’t Give Sin the Attention it Desires

As someone who’s life revolves around sports, the best way I can describe sin is like experiencing a bad losing streak. Sometimes you can try so hard to stop something from happening that your mind gives up before you achieve your desired outcome. Subsequently, you find yourself in bondage, held captive by an invisible force that makes you do the opposite of what you really want, Romans 7:15-16.

In the spring, when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab with his servants and all Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites [country] and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, when from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very lovely to behold, 2 Samuel 11:1-2.

Sin has a way of casting spells on weak individuals, distracting them from the way out of the mess they’ve created, 1 Corinthians 10:13. In the passage above, David was tired, didn’t feel like going to work so he took the entire spring off. After a few days, David got bored, talking an evening stroll on top of his castle. Instead of being rejuvenated from rest and relaxation, a second glance at Bathsheba caused David to give sin the attention it desired.

But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:14-15.

Perhaps, speaking from personally experience, the earthly brother of Jesus writes about the powerful force known as temptation. When wandering eyes stray from the cross of Jesus toward earthly pleasures, you open the door from sin to come into your life. If enticement, lust and passions are allowed to stick around, sin will take you further than you ever imagined or wanted. Newspaper archives is filled by shocking stories from people of faith who gave sin the attention it desired. This is why we should flee sin, James 4:6-8, while there is time to come to our senses to escape sin’s grasp.

by Jay Mankus

Recovering from a Spiritual Hangover

Hangovers from drinking are a chain of reactions going on within your body following the consumption of alcohol. Once inside your body, alcohol affects your gastrointestinal tract, urine production, and blood sugar levels. Depending upon your age, gender, and weight, hangovers result in fatigue, headaches, cognitive, mood, and sensory issues. Meanwhile, biological rhythms and sleep patterns are hindered as individuals attempt to recover from these painful experiences.

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do, Galatians 5:17.

According to the apostle Paul, alcohol is merely one aspect in life that is abused. Anger, bitterness, conflict, division, envy, and sexual desires are avenues that can result in spiritual hangovers. Following an emotional outburst, fits of rage or a second glance, the human conscience will begin to reveal symptoms of this spiritual condition. Any combination of conviction, guilt, remorse, and shame will rock human souls. King David compares a spiritual hangover to having your energy zapped by heat and humidity, Psalm 32:3-4.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), 21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:19-21.

The apostle Paul suggests that the road to recovery begins by keeping in alignment with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. The first step to recovery begins by acknowledging that you have a sin problem, unable to control one or more fleshly desires. Just as alcoholics rely on anonymous groups, Christians should search to find a small group that serves as a form of accountability. While it may take some time to feel comfortable to bear your soul to strangers, the sooner you confess, the better you’ll feel. However, remember that life is a marathon so pace yourself by walking with God, Hebrews 12:1-2. May your recovery go well, without any relapses.

by Jay Mankus

Taste Test

Young people tend to break into the work force at some sort of restaurant.  The idea of free food, drinks or both is enticing.  One of my favorite parts in this occupation was taste testing, giving out samples to customers as well as trying new items on the menu.  Only when you take a bite can you explain to others what to expect.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”- Genesis 3:1

In the case of Eve, one item was forbidden, banned from her daily diet of fruit and vegetables.  Despite this knowledge, an evil voice whispered, promising enlightenment for those who indulge.  After considering this, a second glance planted the seed of lust within her heart.  Without any resistance from her husband, Eve participated in the first taste of sin.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”- Genesis 3:5

While the settings have changed, a similar voice exists today.  However, the message isn’t focused on food for the soul.  Rather, this taste test involves a flesh hungry for pleasure.  Unfortunately, this experience is only temporarily satisfied, craving more and more with each encounter.  Guilt, shame and sorrow are common aftertastes.  However, only when you gather the courage to say no, can you escape the trial of destruction awaiting the addicted.  May you have the resolve to avoid the second glance and experience victory over temptation.

by Jay Mankus

 

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