If the following post seems unsympathetic, it was not intended to be. If some will come away after reading this post with the question of 'where's the love?' I assure you, it is love that compels me to commit these thoughts to actual words on a screen. Too often men retreat to justifying certain sins in their lives, when confronted with them, by saying the person that pointed them out did so in an unloving fashion, and so they cannot receive the rebuke. I could, at this time throw out the tired cliche of 'love hurts', but in my defense, I have not resorted to calling anyone 'the offspring of a viper!', so I'm still ahead in the loving rebuke category.
For the past few weeks I have been counseling a young man who's had some trouble dealing with sin in his life, and as the Word admonishes us to do, I have pointed him to the Bible, to the words of Christ, and the apostles in the hope that he would resist the temptation laid before him, and pursue righteousness with zeal and commitment. Every couple days, I get a heartbreaking e-mail that, he has relapsed into his old life, and when I press him as to why he would do such a thing, his answer is always, in one variation or another 'the devil made me do it.'
So today I would like to dispel this myth, that the devil really does make us do it, and bring the focus back on yes, you guessed it, us, ourselves, and the individual accountability and responsibility we have before God of resisting temptation, of standing firm and resolute in the face of the enemy's snares.
Evil, or sin, as relates to man, is the result of a wrong choice while under the influence of temptation. Satan's offer, becomes sin for us, only when we choose it, and accept it as an alternative to walking with Christ in purity and righteousness. Temptation was invented by the enemy, and looking at all the victims it has left in its wake, at least from his point of view, temptation was a genius means of distracting the children of God from their primary goal. Once men give in to temptation, they open the door to deception, and the progression leads, if ever so slowly, down into the abyss, further and further away from light and truth.
Sin is always a matter of personal choice,the outcome of giving in to some external temptation, we knew all along we should avoid and resist. Lucifer chose to rebel against God, blinded by his pride and desire to be the greatest in the kingdom.
By continually choosing to give in to the temptations that the devil lays at our feet, given enough time we become his slaves. Man is a being with the freedom to choose, he can decide and perceive the difference between good and evil.
Animals have no conscience, they are not aware that they are committing evil, even when they cause pain or suffering. I saw the perfect example of this, when my father in law's dog, a dog he had had for over ten years, bit him on the hand for trying to take away a bone.
Progressively, man becomes a sure victim of the temptation to which he succumbs repeatedly. Temptation is by its very definition tempting, it beguiles us, and if we allow it to overcome us, it births sin in our hearts. Once sin is committed, once man has given in to temptation, or desire, absent of repentance, and yes I use repentance in its strictest definition (turning away from), he becomes ensnared.
The conscience of every man has been stamped with the knowledge of good and evil, and like a permanent watermark it remains there in spite of the ethical relativism, (the means by which men corrupt the definitions of morality), that is being promoted in the world today.
Evil multiplies quite easily and rapidly in the hearts of those who are open to it, all it needs is the right environment, and the right environment for evil is any soul which it was able to drag away from the light of truth, into the darkness of sin. Evil is the primary virus, which has infested the human race, and as any virus it continually changes its identity, morphing into new strains, to escape detection, but its essence always remains the same. Evil travels the same paths, knocks on the same doors, offers the same temptations, incognito as it were, and men continually allow themselves to be beguiled by its appearance, and choose it over the simplicity of a life in Christ.
Hidden under a variety of masks, evil always promises something that seems to good to be true, never there when the time comes to keep its end of the bargain, but always there to collect its pound of flesh in the form of the painful consequences that follow men's fall into temptation.
All the enemy offers, all he is able to offer, are poisonous, spoiled, bitter fruit, which he is able to make seem good, ripe and nourishing. It is only an illusion, and once the first bite is taken, many a tear is wept, for those who have fallen into the snare, those who have taken a bite of the devil's fruit realize that they have sold eternity, for a mouthful of wormy apple.
Sin is the centrifugal force that brings man further and further away from God, until finally man is no longer within God's gravitational field, lost and irredeemable, unable to return to the source of joy and peace. A man who continually chooses to give in to sin, is forever lost in the alternative universe, complicit in his own demise, all the while beguiled by the whispers, 'this is freedom, this is freedom.'
Good, is the ethical expression of truth, while evil being the alternative to good, is the moral expression of deception. When Lucifer realized the enormity of his misstep, he immediately attempted to hide it behind false affirmations, and attempted justifications, something all those who choose evil are want to do. The plain truth is this, the final consequence of choosing sin, of choosing evil, of betraying both the cross and the sacrifice Christ made, is death, a death that comes at the end of a lifetime of struggle, hate, suffering and frustration, then comes eternity.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.