Imagine yourself walking on a warm sunny day, having your walk interrupted by the joyful sounds of people splashing and playing in a water just over the next hill. As you curiously crest the hill you see the people frolicking about in the water but something seems strange. You notice that there is a large pipe with sewage waste from the toilets and sinks of the city filling the swimming hole. The swimmers are covered with stinking brown waste but are dunking one another, jumping in, and playing games despite the foul water. You wonder if they have lost their minds, especially as they call out to you, as you stand unstained and clean on the shore, to come join them in the fun.
This disgusting scene is pictured in Peter’s warning in 1 Peter 4:1-5:
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (ESV)
Foolish Living Seems Fun…For A Time
People swimming in a cesspool of sin want you to join them and think it is foolish that you would skip out on the “fun”. They are living wasteful lives but think they are living the good life. Only when they start reaping the harvest of their sinful actions and notice the scars on their heart and mind of wasteful living do they realize how foolish they have lived.
The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-31 describes a young man who wants to get the money that he would inherit when his father dies so he can go live like he wants. He lives a wild life surrounded by “friends” who help him live a wasteful life. Eventually the money runs out, the so-called friends move on to someone else who has money to party with, and he has to take a job feeding pigs. His life is so pitiful that he desires to eat the nasty slop that is fed to the pigs. He comes to his senses and returns home but he has lost his financial inheritance and has the scars of shame and regret for a life lived in sin. One can be forgiven by God but forgiving oneself can be more difficult.
Sinful Living Has Eternal Consequences
Those who are swimming in spiritual sewage forget that they will be condemned for rebellion against God if they do not repent. We must choose instead to live a pure life, outside of the sewage, and escape the earthly consequences of foolish living and the eternal punishment that the wicked will suffer.
The Bible describes the law of harvest, in which we will reap from the seeds we plant, in Galatians 6:7-10. We may not like the consequences of our actions but we cannot escape them. The results in our life, whether good or evil, are based on decisions we have made. That is why it is important to choose friends who will help you live righteously, entertainment that will not defile you, and actions that reflect God’s glory.
God wants young people to enjoy their life but to do so in godly ways. Living in drunkenness, sexual immorality, and impurity will not lead to good consequences on earth or eternally. Following God’s guidance will allow you to know true joy and contentment in this life. Remember the exhortation of Ecclesiastes 11:10:
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. (ESV)
Don’t Be Deceived By God’s Longsuffering
We can sometimes be persuaded to do wrong when we see that people aren’t struck down immediately for sin. We can be enticed to leave the wisdom and direction of God to do impure and sinful things. Some are deceived, thinking they can participate in sin then later repent and live the holy life. There is no guarantee that such a person will not die while in sin or may adopt sinful ways and not be willing to repent later even if they know they should change. It is like a smoker who knows that he is damaging his health and wasting his money but he has done it for so long that it is very hard to quit even when he knows he should.
Remember that God’s delay in judgment is for our salvation, not to give us more opportunity to sin, 2 Peter 3:8-13. Peter says that since we will be judged we should live lives of holiness and godliness hoping for the coming of Jesus.
When you are tempted to forsake holy living to do sinful things, remember the sickening picture above and don’t swim in the sewage.
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