What Sets Us FreeDo you ever try to earn points with God?
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My friend had been a loving mother who put her Bible degree to good use by teaching Sunday school and participating in several Bible studies. But last month she informed her husband that she recently had two affairs and is open for more. After I recovered from the initial shock, I marveled at how quickly a person can destroy her marriage, family, reputation, and her fellowship with God. A lifetime of faithful obedience can be trashed in a single moment.
Or can it? While my friend's meltdown came as a surprise to us, her self-destruction was the conclusion of a number of smaller compromises that snowballed down the slippery slope to adultery (James 1:14). A desire to be admired produced a hunger for male attention, which led to a lingering conversation, then a touch.
Large failures are the result of smaller sins (v.15). Jonah didn't start out in the belly of a big fish. He landed there because he hated his enemies, which led him to run away from God, which forced God's hand to get his attention (Jonah 1:3). If Jonah had put his feelings aside and obeyed God at the outset, all of his trouble would have been avoided.
Are there signs that you are open to temptation? Do you crave attention from members of the opposite sex? Do you go out of your way to talk with a particular person? Are you weighing the odds of getting caught if you fudge your taxes or cheat your employer? Has it been a while since you made time to pray?
We can walk with God for 30 years and then throw that sweet fellowship away in a flash. But we won't if we check the smaller sins that are leading us there. Which direction are you running: toward God or away from Him?
--Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey
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