I’ve been thinking recently about the many stories of infidelity in the news over the past few months. Whether it’s a prominent politician, a famous athlete, or some other celebrity, one often looks at the situation and wonders, “What were they thinking?” In many instances, those who have fallen seem to have the perfect life: financial stability, worldly success, and every comfort anyone could ask for. I have to stop and question what would make someone with “everything” risk it all for an affair which, given today’s media-centric, up-to-the-minute, celebrity-gossip fascination cannot possibly remain a secret for long.
It doesn’t take much thought, however, before the Holy Spirit begins to convict me. How often have I wandered away from God’s perfection, His promises, His way, in pursuit of my own happiness? Why do I often struggle with the same sins, knowing they do not bring the satisfaction they promise? Why do I sometimes envy those who are engaging in sin as if I’m missing out on their experiences?
David (through the Holy Spirit) warns us in Psalm 37:1 not to envy the wicked:
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong. (NIV)
But why? Why do we find it so easy to envy those who participate in it? Why do we desire sin?
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)
Sin seems easy. Sin seems fun. Sin can even seem safe, free of consequences (despite Paul’s warning in Galatians 6:7). And maybe, sin says, just maybe, this time will be worth the consequences. The writer of Hebrews was aware of sin’s deceitfulness. Sin makes many promises. But sin lies.
The continued pursuit of sin can harden our hearts. We must not allow ourselves to be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, but must come quickly to God and confess:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
How do we combat the deceitfulness of sin and the hardening of our hearts?
By reminding ourselves of the result of evil. By remaining in fellowship with other Christians who will encourage us to turn from sin and turn to Christ. And ultimately by reminding our souls of who God is. He is faithful. He assures us with the promise that we are no longer bound to sin. And He promises us that as we seek Him, He will preserve our lives and give us the power to stand against the struggle with sin.
As members of His Body, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should encourage each other daily to grow in sanctification. We should also encourage each other to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). By fixing our eyes on Christ Himself, we find the strength we need to flee from sin.