In my last post, I shared with you the three stages of sin: Acceptance, Support, and Active Participation. I also shared how those each get reflected in the story of Saul’s life as he became a persecutor of early believers. If you didn’t read that article, I recommend you check it out.
The midpoint of Paul’s descent, the stage I would refer to as “supporting sin”, was a stage in which he was not actively attempting to arrest Christians, but he was speaking out and joining the chorus of voices crying out for their persecution. He wasn’t doing the dirty work yet, but he certainly was in favor of it.
Keys to Avoiding Stage 2
The key to avoiding this stage of sin is to actively monitor your connections. How are people influencing you and how are you influencing others. Sin is often mentored or comes by association. I recall listening to the testimony of a young woman who had become addicted to crystal meth, but by the grace of God had found freedom from her addiction.
Her descent began when she started dating a man who both used and sold drugs. “I will never use drugs”, she swore as she began dating him. She had just entered the first stage of sin. She wasn’t using, but she was accepting of the fact that her boyfriend was. Soon she started taking drugs and swore, “I will never make crystal meth”, but she did. Next she swore, “I will never sell meth”, but again, she did. Her spiraling descent of addiction came to a grinding halt the day she crashed her car into a school bus full of children. The back seat of the car held all of the makings of a crystal meth lab.
How and why had she violate her vows? The answer in a word is influence. Her addict boyfriend influenced her decision-making. Once she had accepted his sin, she became his enabler and then partner.
Questions for Reflection
What people, media, circumstances, or environmental factors are influencing you toward sin?
How are you enabling someone else’s sin? How are you actively or passively supporting someone sinning?
Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Matthew 5:30.
What step do you need to take right now to severe a connection with sin? Is there a relationship you should end? Is there a place you shouldn’t go anymore? Is there a habit you shouldn’t indulge?
What to Pray
Ask God to reveal to you the dangerous edges in your life. Ask God to reveal to you those places, people, or things influencing you toward sin. Also, ask God to show you the ways in which you are supporting sin and may not realize it.
May God bless you and strengthen you each time you resist sin.