Coloring Outside The Lines – How It Began
Sin never seems to just burst through the door waving a flag, blowing on a bugle and screaming “COME ON FOLLOW ME!” Instead it creeps in slowly, at least in a believer’s life. Like David on the roof top, maybe we look just a little too long, or take a second glance. Someone flirts and we flirt back. Someone gossips or speaks ill of someone, and instead of shutting it down by changing the subject or walking away we join in and make an unkind remark. Someone tries to provoke us and instead of praying for our enemies as God commands, and loving them as His Word instructs, we poke back. Maybe we reason away that one drink won’t hurt anything when we know we might have a problem controlling our alcohol intake.
Regardless of what it is, we let it slip in through a crack that forms in our foundation. That crack happens when we take our eyes off the Lord, when we start letting other things come between us and prayer time, study time, and gathering with other Christians. Maybe it is a TV show, or a football game, staying up late and over sleeping on Sunday morning. Whatever it is we allow things to start taking priority in our lives. In and of themselves they are not bad or wrong things, but we let them come before what is most important. And anything that we put ahead of the Lord is an idol. Over time we hold that up, giving it attention when something else should be getting our attention. The crack starts there.
What begins as a hairline crack, nearly undetectable at first, starts to grow in length and width. Not fast, mind you. It takes time. We start to notice short comings in others because if we are focused on them and their behavior, we are not focused so much on our own. We become disgruntled, the crack grows more. Dirty water from around the foundation begins to seep in through the crack. Just a drop here and there, but then bigger drops, and more of them, until it is a tiny stream.
The bible says in James 1:12-15:
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
We’re first tempted, when we let our desires seep in through the cracks. We are enticed by fantasies and dreams, and we begin to breathe life into them, verbalizing and sharing them. As time goes by they grow and become more prominent in our speech. Before long those desires conceive and give birth to sin. We act upon the desires and fantasies, and the crack breaks open more and sin is born.
That is exactly how it happened. Time, events, “life” got in the way of what was important. Little by little, we let more and more things become more important than being at church. And the fantasies began to be voiced, talked about, used to entice and excite. In time they were acted upon and we began to lead 2 lives, one that on the surface looked like we were good, church going, bible believing Christians. The other was kept in secret and away from the eyes of friends and family. We made new “friends” that helped us to justify what we were doing. Consenting adults, it wasn’t sin if we both were in agreement.
The first clue that something is a sin might be the ‘secret’ part. When you have to hide it, there is a reason. Cheating on your spouse usually starts out with secrets…texts, flirts, emails, conversations, meeting up for drinks or lunch, things you do when your significant other is not around. Things you would never do in front of them with their full knowledge because it is WRONG and you know darn well what their reaction would be. If you cannot share it with the church family, or your blood family because they would ‘judge’ your actions as wrong, then maybe you need to be thinking again. Hidden things, secret things, things that could cost you your position in the church, damage your testimony and/or reputation, cost you your marriage….yes those things are not okay, or you would not be hiding them.
We justified that they would not understand, even tried to convince ourselves that God never intended for us to be monogamous because after all, He made us with these desires and as long as we go home each time with our spouse at the end of the night or party, then it is okay. If it was we wouldn’t have been hiding what we were doing. I believe deep down we both knew very well what we were doing was completely wrong and sinful. But oh the fun, the parties, the open mindedness. Sharing intimacy wasn’t really my thing, that was the other half’s joy. But I enjoyed the parties, dressing inappropriately sexy and embracing the knowledge that I was sexy, desirable and so many men wanted me. Sure, that was indeed a draw, but what I really wanted more than anything was for my spouse to feel that way about me, and me ONLY. But I walked into this with him and saw no real way out. Instead of shutting down those fantasies when they first came up, I put him on the pedestal and tried my best to be what I believed he wanted. I am just as guilty as he is for where we went. I could have prayed for him, steered things gently away from the sinful desires, but I opted to feed the flames. I put my husband’s desires and happiness ahead of the Lord, I actually made him my idol. I carried things entirely too far from his being my hero and center of my world, when I should have had his spiritual health, the state of his soul as my major concern. Instead of praying, I added to the temptation. I ate from the forbidden fruit through the images I’d verbally weave and handed the fruit off to him.
Let my coloring book stand as a warning. We cannot allow even the smallest temptation to cross over into our lives. Once we let just the smallest sin in, it takes over and grows. I have no idea who said it, but I’ll stop tonight with this thought, as it is so very true:
Sin will take you further than you want to go. It will keep you longer than you want to stay. And it will cost you more than you want to pay.