I met someone a few weeks ago that reminded me that when people choose to live time in sin, they not only waste that time of relationship with God and fellow Christians and good influence, He struggled with drug use and other immoral behaviors and was far behind his peers in career and life advancement because he is having to break from a terrible addiction. The consequences of his decisions are more than a damaged body. His dignity, self-respect, economic status, freedom, and relationships have been damaged. He is struggling to hold onto faith and rebuild his life.
Some are not addicted to drugs but become ensnared by immoral behavior. They start going to places they once avoided. They quit feeding on God’s word (if they ever ate deeply), occasionally snacking on devotional passages or positive verses while ignoring the call to holiness and righteousness demanded by the savior, and quit associating with Christian friends that will hold them accountable. Eventually they are drawn deeper into immorality, doing things they never thought they would do, and learning the emptiness of sin’s illusions.
IF they return to God (not guaranteed) they waste even more time trying to disengage from immoral behaviors and habits, emotionally wrestle with past sinful behavior, struggle to rebuild a relationship with God and those they have alienated, and rebuild their dignity and reputation. Sin leaves scars and the person will not be the same again. They can repent and strive to live a holy life and even accomplish some great things for God. Yet I have met some of the most active and enthusiastic Christians who mourn the decisions of an immoral past even though they know they are forgiven. There is an emotional price to sexual immorality and a relationship impact on future relationships. There is shame for actions taken and things said while intoxicated (Proverbs 23:29-35). More than this, there is the spiritual weakness while separated from God and His people and the loss of spiritual growth as one abandons serious personal Bible study, engaging in worship, and spiritual discussions with godly people. That time will never be recovered and the spiritual neglect will lead to a diseased soul.
It was sad seeing a guy who lost years to sin and more years to recovery because he wanted to enjoy the sinful life. It’s even sadder thinking of people I know who died during the time they wandered from God because they were with people doing ungodly things or never had time to return to God. I think also of some who became so involved in sin that they could not find their way back. Others felt they had done too much or really wanted to have that relationship with God they once had but felt but weren’t motivated enough to change. Sadly, their life is not better for having left the Lord. Jesus paid the ultimate cost to purchase their salvation but they crucified Him again to take the old life of sin from the cross and let it live again in them, Hebrews 6:4-8.
It reminds me of a friend’s wise, oft quoted, admonition: “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost more than you wanted to pay.”
Though it is talking about adultery, read Proverbs 5:7-14 in the context of being seduced by sin, replacing the seductive message of the woman with the deceptive appeal of Satan, and ponder the price of a life alienated from God:
And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.” (ESV)