Written By Ryan Walters
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
If you call yourself a devout Christ follower, then I have a gut feeling I know the question that bothers & convicts you the most. (And no, this is not me utilizing my social work instincts to look through you.)
It’s the question that makes you fall into self-pity. The question that gets you really down on yourself. Makes you feel like a failure. The question that makes you feel like giving up. Makes you feel dirty & shameful. It is basically that question that hits you & throws you over the edge at the very moment when you’ve ascended to a peak of faith & you’re under the impression “you’re doing so well!” (Ironically, those are the exact moments of growing closer to the character of God that we realize just how wicked & immoral we are.) Well enough waiting. The question is this-
Why Do I Keep Falling Into Sinful Behavior?
If you are anything like me (doubtful, I’m a strange & complex kid), you may occasionally make these spiritual strides in life and at moments you begin to mistakenly believe you are Mr. Invincible. Well, that’s a bit misguiding. Let’s be clear that putting on the armor of God does not mean you acquire the capability to refrain from sinning the rest of your days. Ephesians 6 says this, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” See. Directly in the Word, we’re not told we’ll ever not be susceptible to Satan and His schemes and temptations. We’re not told we’ll ever reach a place of sinlessness & perfection as Jesus did. We don’t’ ever become so much like Christ that we don’t have to worry about sinning in the future. Not even the process of sanctification, becoming one with God, erases our fleshly tendencies to falter every once in a while.
BUT! We are equipped to know what it is we need to turn from sinning. Author Michael DiMarco says in his daily devotional The God Guy, “…[the God Guy] wants to know Him more, to know His Word and to obey it, even though he has the occasional mess-up.” Michael clearly gets it. Guys, we’ll have occasional mess-ups in this life. It’s bound to happen no matter how much you pursue holiness. You’re still made of flesh no matter how much you pursue God. And where there’s flesh there are fleshly desires. And fleshly desires equal what many like to call ‘common sense’. Well, Houston we have a problem because God’s idea of common sense couldn’t be more contrary to ours.
Isaiah 55:8- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.“
This brief passing of a life consists of ongoing battles. Clashes of God’s chosen lifestyle for His creation against the sinful cravings we attain by our human nature. Let us be clear that God’s proposed lifestyle of living according to His book doesn’t insinuate humans will be “mistake free”.
God says, “My child. Strive. Strive to be like me. Strive to be like my Son. Challenge yourselves. Seek my Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) by seeking righteousness which is only available by salvation. And salvation requires acceptance-
[Romans 10:9-10 “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”]
Salvation requires confession & repentance. Now keep your eyes on Me. And by doing so, you will not just be able to choose the good scenario instead of the bad scenario. You’ll have the capability to access the best case scenario. The one that is most in line with my character. After all, I did mold you out of my own image.”
Where am I getting with all this? Well, back to the originally suggested question: why do we keep messing up and falling back into sin if we’re supposedly growing closer to God? Trust me, there are a plethora of reasons a Christ follower could support that question with. I would like to concentrate my focus on one probable (okay, a little more than just probable) answer: boredom.
We get bored.
We become uninterested.
The ways of God slowly began to seem aloof.
Right as we’re concluding the 180 degree turns in our lives, allowing God to transform our hearts and renew our minds, we encounter a slippery slope of boredom and the cycle continues resulting in a 360 degree turn leaving us right back at square one.
Want to know what I think?
Sin is just something to do. Sometimes it’s not something we necessarily even want. It’s an excuse to cover pockets of time when we’re bored, unmotivated and spiritually unfocused. However, at all times our eyes should be on the prize (Philippians 3:14).
Proverbs 4:25-26 says “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
So if I interpret this particular biblical book full of wisdom correctly, my eyes need to be set straight ahead. I can’t afford to be distracted by what’s going on to the left or right of me. In the corner of my eyelids, I see pornography. In those same corners, I hear heavy criticism and persecution for my beliefs. In the exact same corners, I sweat & succumb to the contemplations of lust & substances that blur my vision. In the heat of the moment, I’m hit by a ton of bricks suddenly realizing the imagery behind a student paying attention to the teacher amidst the silly antics and peer pressure of his classmates. As my heart rate builds and my breathing is struggling to keep up, I can’t afford to gaze behind me. How expensive it would be and cost my faith if I began pedaling backwards on what we’ll call the “life bike”. Oh how I promised never to reopen those doors that led to immoral behavior.
You know how I picture us sometimes? Like bobble heads. Doesn’t any functional bobble head character at a local toy shop seem so puzzling? I mean if you sat and stared at one of these simplistic objects while asking it a series of questions [imagining it were a real life human being], you would never get an answer. It’s head just shifts or “bobs” up and down and side to side nonstop. (I don’t recommend actually staring at one of these things. You’d probably end up throwing it halfway across the highway).
I swear we’re so hot and cold with our lifestyles, specifically in our commitments to Christ, similarly to bobble heads. The majority of Christians don’t arise every morning thinking to themselves, “hmm. Shall I serve my soul ties to sin today or should I serve Christ?” (At least I surely hope that’s not what many of us are doing or else we’re in way over our heads). However, our behaviors & choices throughout the day reflect the epitome of that lukewarm Christian who asks those exact questions.
How do we resolve this spiritual boredom? The state of dullness we encounter in our worship.
I got a proposition. Set yourself ablaze. Light yourself on fire. Fuel the Spirit spark.
Let me paste a section of my blog’s ‘About’ page:
The theme I felt this blog should be recognized by is ‘Challenging Lukewarm Christianity”. 98.6 degrees is the estimated temperature of water recognized as ‘lukewarm’. It is also man’s average body temperature. But lukewarm is NOT what we are called to be, is it? We’re not called to be average men and women or follow along with who every other person in the world is or what they are doing. Why do I say “too cold”? Because we need to set our hearts and lives ON FIRE for God! Hebrews 12:29 says, “for our God is a consuming fire”. I strongly believe He has a plan for the writers and readers of this blog to be consumed by that same fire.
I absolutely have fallen in love with that passage from Hebrews. And it is what I dare you to do today.
Step into the unknown. The unseen. Live by faith. Be consumed by God’s fire & holy discontent.
Ryan Walters. ’98.6 Too Cold’ Founder, Blogger