(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia)
Scammers today continue to lure people into their traps, stealing identity, security and wealth. Like a scam, sin can sneak its way into our lives with damaging effects. Yet, we have hope for redemption through God who heals and protects.
. . .
A little here, a little there
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
(Galatians chapter 5, verse 9)
In Galatians, Paul explains how a small amount of false doctrine can cause great damage. That little bit of leaven might not be seen amongst the dough, but its effect is well seen with time.
How do we fall victim to a scam? It happens when we become accustomed to things and let our guard down. Over time, we stop checking if the links or information look genuine, and simply accept that it is.
In the same way, habits can weasel their way into our thinking and lifestyle to effect much greater change. Suddenly, we wonder how we got to this point. As we reflect, we see how a small discouragement, small bit of resentment, jealousy, or unforgiveness can fester and eat away at our character and spirit.
Accommodation of sin gives the devil a foothold to “steal, kill and destroy” (John chapter 10, verse 10). Instead of storing up resentment or self-pity, we can choose to make ourselves vulnerable before God who loves us and wants the best for us.
We all sin, but let us not be afraid to cast every anxiety, fear and character flaw before God! As David writes in the Psalms:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
(Psalm chapter 139, verses 23-24)
. . .
God waits to catch us
“Where are you God?”
“How could you let this happen?”
It is not uncommon for these questions to pop up. One that often crosses my mind is,
“Why didn’t you stop me God?”
Why didn’t God stop me from saying something or doing something with unpleasant consequences? Reflecting on these times, I have often found that the situation has made me grow in character, wisdom and closeness with God. My mistakes make me realise how much I need to lean on God, to search out His way and not mine; how much I need His transforming grace in my life. I look back on my life and am grateful that God lets me fall enough to learn certain things, but that He has always intervened before things got too bad. He disciplines, but also protects me.
None of us are perfect, and I am glad we have a merciful God! We can take everything to Him in prayer – the big, the small, the things we think we can handle and the things that are clearly out of our control. I am always comforted to know that God is faithful and that He is for us. No matter what, God will always love us and act for our good.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.”
(Psalm chapter 27, verse 13)
. . .
Learn to trust
“As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats His folly.”
(Proverbs chapter 26, verse 11)
We sin, we repent, we are forgiven and we learn to live more like Jesus. God forgives us time and time again, but there is wisdom in learning from our mistakes. When we fall and we reflect, we can also ask God to help up grow. There might be things we need to change in our lifestyle, thinking or way of living. Perhaps we need to fast certain things, or turn our focus onto other things. It might be hard at first but as we persevere, our character will grow.
We can trust God to teach us and lead us in His way. We can trust God because He overcame sin and death at the cross. We can trust God because in His love, He extends His victory over sin to us. We can trust God, because He is holy and in Him, there is no sin.
“With my whole heart I have sought You;
oh let me not wander from Your commandments.”
(Psalm chapter 112, verse 10)