The thing about sin is, you just don’t know when it’s going to get you. I’m not saying that we really fall into it. Rather, we walk right into it when everything is telling us we shouldn’t.
That’s what I did. And as Amy mentioned, our fairy-tale marriage became a train wreck.
Sin Becomes Us
For the last several months, we’ve been memorizing the book of James as a family. We’re almost through the entire first chapter.
In this short passage, there’s so much about trusting God and not ourselves. It clearly lays out the progression of sin in our lives. Sin starts off small, but it grows until it consumes us, and it becomes the definition of our lives. Sin becomes… us.
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See if this sounds familiar to you at all:
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. —James 1:12-15
What is sin? Our culture hates this word.
But, it doesn’t hate it the way it should.
Rightly understood, sin is an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” Another way to see it is that sin means missing the bulls eye. Or—in some cases—missing the target.
In biblical terms, it means to fall short of God’s best for us.
I know what you’re thinking: Wait! “God’s best?” When we sin, we fall short of God’s best for us? I thought sin was breaking God’s rules and making Him mad at us.
No, that’s not what sin is.
Have you ever fallen short of a goal? You had a perfect plan laid out; you knew just how it was going to work and everyone was going to “live happily ever after.” But, what happened?
The weather didn’t cooperate with your parade. The package didn’t arrive on time. Someone said the wrong thing. You tripped on the way to the finish line.
You fell short of the goal.
God’s Goal for You
You see, God has a goal for you, too. And His best for you is so much more than you could ever conceive or imagine.
But to get there you have to follow the map, you have to play by the rules, you have to stay “in bounds.”
Every game you’ve ever played has rules.
Every time you take a ride in your car, you obey laws put there for your safety and that of the other people on the road.
God created the world and everything in it. We are His creation, and He wants what is best for us, His creation.
And because He created the world, He knows how He created it to work. He knows what we have to do to have happy, content, and abundant lives. If you have children, I know that you have a very great concern for their lives and their futures. You want them to be safe, you want to keep the from harm, from danger, from poor influences; you want them to learn, and grow, and mature into healthy, productive, compassionate, loving adults.
God feels the same way about us.
Which is why He gives us rules to live by. When we follow His rules, things go well for us. When we disregard His rules, things go poorly for us.
To sin, then, is to break His rules, which He put in place to help keep us safe, so that we can learn, and grow, and mature into adulthood.
We fall short of His best for us.
What rules govern your life?
Do you follow the rules? Or do you follow your heart?
Which is more trustworthy?