Margin notes: Special Series – Waging war against indwelling sin #10

hooky2 Samuel 11:1 “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at home.”

Most of you will recognize this verse as the preface to one of the darkest periods in the life of David. These few sentences set the stage for David’s adulterous sexual sin with Bathsheba, and the subsequent arranged murder of her husband Uriah. How does one so great, fall so greatly? This simple verse provides at least one of the keys to it all.

Temptation, like a coin, has two sides. If you do not account for both, the result is worthless. If you don’t account for both aspects of how we need to govern ourselves, all of our intense battling is worthless as well.

Virtually everyone understands the basic need to NOT do things we are not supposed to do. Christ as our Lord clearly marks out for us all kinds of prohibitions. The Bible is replete with them. But one does not stop doing sin in a vacuum, nor does sin tempt us in that vacuum. We must BE about the things we should, if we are to be kept from the things we shouldn’t. Sounds simple. It is simple. But that does not mean it is easy.

I used to have a small plaque in my office (lost in a move) which read: “The Devil tempts every man, but an idle man tempts the Devil.” This is so very true. It has been my personal experience that I am never more “temptable” than when I have excused myself from some pressing or typical responsibility. Unplanned and impromptu “vacation” time seduces the heart and the mind into imagining that a vacation is legitimate – even from that which cannot be neglected. Our responsibility to seek and serve God at all times is as perpetual and necessary, and as much of a privilege as eating, drinking, sleeping or breathing are. Who in their right minds ever imagines any kind of vacation from these? Then why in the world would imagine there to be some sort of vacation from the freedom of righteousness? And that, to be bound in sin and shame for a season. This is nothing short of lunacy.

I have never met the man or woman who says “you know, I just really need a break from all my freedom, I think I’ll take some time off to sit in a prison cell for a bit.” Yet that is precisely the reasoning we employ when we say “I think I’ll take some time off from getting my soul fed in the Bible, and from unburdening my soul in prayer. I really need a break so I can fill myself up on some sexual filth, and maybe get out from the bondage of the joy of worshiping God to wallow in the pig-sty of the lost World’s values.”

You see beloved, when we sense that serving God has grown to be a burden which we need relieved of, we need the alarms to go off in our heads that something is already wrong. We’re not talking here about needed rest for a weary body and mind. We’re talking about the self-deception which begins to see the freedom from sin’s tyranny which serving God brings – as though we need to “relax” into sin again. All the while being seduced by our own twisted reasoning to abandon freedom for bondage.

“I’ll skip my time alone with God today.” “I’ve read enough of the Word already.” “I’m all prayed up.” I’ve worshiped God sufficiently this week.” “I’m tired of being on the lookout for temptation.” “I’ve had enough of God for now.” You might as well say “I breathed enough today to last me MONTH! My lungs need a break.” “Food? I can’t look at food until next year – I just had Thanksgiving dinner.” “Sleep? Man, the tyranny of sleep – what a waste of time.” “Drink? Me? You know, a sip here and there is just fine.” Leave off the necessary things, and you’ll find yourself tempting the Enemy to strike.

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