Sin has a payoff. In fact, the immediate reward we experience when we take a wrong turn and engage in immoral behavior is so seductive that it overshadows our ability to discern right from wrong.
But how quickly would your discerning ability improve if your pastor were to witness your actions? Or if your child were to suddenly walk in on you while you were enjoying your shameful behavior?
Would the pleasure you gained from your choices still be held in such esteem – or would the shame of being seen at your worst change your mind about whether the payoff was really worth it?
Isn’t it true that, after we experience shame and consequences, we usually seek forgiveness and fervently promise to never fall into that sin again? Much like after we’ve gone off our diet and immediately vow to do better. But alas, it’s not long before the hunger pangs return. Then the familiar cravings set in, driving us right back to the food we promised we’d never touch again.
Likewise, what would keep us from making the same behavior decisions when we experience the same emotions, the same drive and the same triggers? How can we expect to choose differently – unless there is something that has changed within us?
What would happen if we were to start right where we are: recognizing and confessing whatever sin is binding us – and praying Psalm 51:1-17 with everything we’ve got, especially, verse 10 (AMP): “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me?”
How would it change us if we were to actually trust God to give us a new heart? To create in us a renewed spirit that is steadfastly committed to making different choices – not only because we dread the consequences, but also because we love God more than we do any pay off the behavior affords? What if, by God’s power, we were to actually prefer the right choices?
Then after God restores us, rather than experiencing shame due to our choices, we will become an empowered witness and mighty testimony of His transforming grace. And, just maybe, we could be the one God uses to humbly help another person who has taken a wrong turn find his or her way back to God, too.
What about you?
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- How has the payoff you experience from your sinful or bad choices affected you?
- Would it change your perspective regarding the sin in your life if you were to envision God using you once you’ve repented of that sin?
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