Friday, January 6, 2012

Letting Go of the Ungodly

As I was reading in Proverbs this morning, I thought of a time when I was not a Christian, when my days were all about how to keep me satisfied, instead of pleasing the Lord. I must tell you, I was not a very nice person. Not only was I selfish, mean and angry, but I was also good at manipulation. My mom used to say I could get anyone to do just about anything I wanted, when I wanted. I was proud of that at one point in my young life- now I look back on that time, and I cringe.
Proverbs 1:8-19 teaches me today about sin, and how it manipulates us into doing things we don’t really want to do, or we know deep down we should not do. Solomon was a wise teacher, he prayed to God and asked for wisdom and understanding so that he could be a good and godly king to the Israelites. God answered his prayers, and not only made him the wisest man in the world, but also blessed him abundantly with riches. Solomon learned many things and taught many things, but one thing he knew better than most of us I am sure, is the enticement of sin in our lives.
As long as we are in this body of sin and flesh we will struggle daily with this enticement. Being a sinner saved by grace has allowed me to overcome many sins through Christ Jesus, but there is still that enticement. I know you know what I am talking about. That simple comment made at the water cooler at work about your co-worker. It was a harmless comment made by your friend, but has now turned into gossip and sin. Solomon warns you of this in Proverbs 1:10, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”
How many times does the pull of sin entice us to do exactly the opposite of what God is asking of us? In my own personal experience- too many times to count! But this scripture reminded me of something Paul wrote about in Romans. (I will not give you all the scriptures, but I will encourage you to go and read Romans 6:2-7:25) Paul said in Romans 6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in its lusts.” Verse 16 goes on to tell us, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness.”
You may be asking yourself, ‘what the heck is she talking about?’ It’s okay; I asked the Lord the same question this morning- ‘what are you trying to say to me?’ It is actually pretty simple. It is learning to let go of the ungodly influences and enticements in our lives that lead us away from Him, and filling those relationships or time spent with His purposes- not sin. We all have them, those little nuances that we like to keep to ourselves, those friends that are not Christians that we say we are “going with them” so that we can show them the love of Christ. Really?
I think what the Lord is asking me today is, “what is in your life that keeps you from me, totally and completely?”  When I became a Christian, there was one thing that I was still doing that was not godly, and God wanted me to give up- but I couldn’t let go of it. Some of you are going to be shocked by this confession, but I hope that you are also encouraged by it. I was addicted to marijuana- in fact when I became a Christian; I would still get up in the morning, take a few hits to get me going and then off to read my bible, go to church, whatever was on the agenda for that day. I thought I needed it, and somehow I kept justifying it. “God made every green seed bearing herb on the planted- so He made marijuana too-what’s the big deal?” He might have made it, but He never intended for it to control me- that was His job.We can deceive ourselves pretty good through justification of our actions- I know- I was a master at it!
As Paul warns us in Romans, “that which we present ourselves slaves to obey, we are that one’s slaves..” And I was- I was a slave to the need, the desire to keep it in my life. It was not until the Lord came and took it from me (and when I say took it, I mean I had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital- that is how He took it from me.) The desire was gone and the need to have it in my life was replaced by this indwelling fire in me for more of Him. I thought that getting high was elating and what I needed- but I was so wrong. The love, the joy, the pure undiluted Spirit of God was within me and I was higher than I have ever been. When I let go of what was ungodly in my life, He was able to come in and fill me up with more of Him.
So what is my point today? Sin is going to entice you, in fact, it probably is right now. We all have something in our life that we “let be our little secret” when in fact, the Lord is saying to you right now- let it go, and let Me in. It may be a friend that always seems to entice you to meet them at a bar for drinks, or maybe that co-worker who loves to gossip and always seems to find you and get you involved in it. Or maybe, like me, it is watching things on TV that God would not approve of. Or maybe it is an addiction to drugs. Whatever it is, one is no worse than the other. Sin is sin- no matter what sin it is. There is not one sin greater than another- sin is death, but Jesus is life.
For me, personally, God is asking me to let go of the ungodly and cling to the God of all, the maker of Heaven and earth, my Savior, my Lord, my King- Jesus Christ. If I am willing to let go of that sin that is enticing me, then He will give me the victory over it- just as He did the drug addictions, the alcoholism, and all the other sins in my past that He has conquered for me. But, I need to make that first step- I need to give myself to Him and not to the sin that is drawing me away.
May I encourage all of my brothers and sisters out there today, “if sinners (or sin) entice you, Do Not Consent.” But instead take that time, money, energy spent on that sin and apply it to His word, His worship, apply it to Him. What a transformation we will see! I am going to do it- will you join me?
How do we do this? How do we let go of the ungodly in our lives to accept the Most High God? We start by going to Him and confessing that sin, we then ask for His forgiveness, accept His grace and walk away from that sin that is destroying us. There are going to be moments when the draw to go back is so great that we think we can’t resist it- but the Lord God, the Lord Jesus Christ is there with you when that sin comes to entice. My advice to you when that enticement hits- RUN! Run as fast as you can to a place where you can get on your knees and ask the Lord to take over. He will, He always does. This will not be an easy journey, but it is one that I want to take.
Let us begin today to let go of the ungodly and embrace the Most High God who desires you above all else. Amen.