Sin is the ultimate mirage – the promise of the fresh, flowing waters of freedom and the pristine beaches of wonder. And perhaps it is – for a moment. But then we realize there’s no fresh water in sight, and that even the deepest of salty seas cannot quench our thirst. The rays of sun that glimmered so bright and mesmerizing moments before, now become white-hot to our skin that lacks protection, as we’ve purposefully walked away from the shadow of His Wings.
As a young-adult, it is easy to desire the “freedom” of the outside world – my parents are extremely loving and have provided a quality life for me, but their “restrictions” (safe rules/guidelines/suggestions) irk me, as I desire a greater deal of autonomy. However, while I’m still at home, I believe I’m beginning to wise-up just slightly, and realizing that many of their exhortations come with good and wise intentions. For example, budgeting and setting money aside, rather than blowing a paycheck on the weekends, or that fast-food-for-breakfast habit that needs to be kicked in the butt.
Sometimes, that’s what we need – isn’t it? A good kick in the butt can go a long way.
Earlier this afternoon, I was walking around the city with a friend of mine and he began to speak some truth into my life, that I didn’t exactly WANT to hear, but NEEDED to hear. “Ya know, Justin, all of these goals that you have (losing-weight, financial independence, marriage someday, writing) are entirely within your control. You can keep telling yourself that things will happen sometime in the future, and that you can buckle down later, but really, that’s just a form of self-procrastination.” Of course, I did what most guys do when their pride takes a bullet, and remained quiet on the way back to where my truck was parked. However, his words lingered in the air, in my heart, and rung true within the fabric of my soul.
Apathy is another form of sin. An “I don’t care” mentality is childish. As a teenager, I had an “I don’t care” mentality toward fashion. In reality it was a self-defense mechanism as I had to wear a back-brace for Scoliosis and couldn’t wear the well-fitting, stylish clothing that my peers could. Then, of course, there was the matter of quitting athletics to enter the working world, and gaining the wonderfully plentiful extra weight an American young-adult has no trouble putting on, if an “I don’t care” mentality exists even the slightest bit in their diet and exercise routine. There’s a reason the LORD says what He does in Revelation 3:15-17,
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
A lukewarm heart, mind, and soul is unhealthy, and the God we serve despises it. He has the same reaction to our apathy, that we may have when taking a drink of warm soda – he spits it out. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to not be spit out. Amen?
Procrastination has the false promise of beginning tomorrow. If we buy into this lie, then our success will always be on the way “tomorrow”, and tomorrow will never come. Instead, we will reap what we sow – laziness will reap the reward of hunger for our “unattainable” dreams/goals/visions.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
Rather, I’d like to pursue the LORD and work towards the dreams and desires He has placed on my heart, and soak in, believe in, and live out, the words of Life written in blood throughout the Bible.
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t know much about fashion. Well, that’s starting to change, and I’m becoming a man that cares (it turns out that athletic shorts and t-shirts are primarily for – well – being athletic). My words of advice on being fashionable? Dress for success, but don’t let your success depend upon your ability to keep up with fashion. Working diligently is always “in”.
Friends, stay away from the mirage of sin – I’ve mentioned primarily the sins of procrastination, apathy, and a lukewarm heart, but this also applies to sinful indulgences of lust, greed, drunkenness, disbelief, and much more. If the Spirit of the LORD rests upon your soul and you are born anew in Jesus, then should the fruits of the spirit not be present in your life?
Lust promises the satisfaction of being wanted, but leaves one lonely and thirsty for further “intimacy” – which, by the way, is entirely counterfeit – there is no real intimacy in sensual greed. Alcohol CAN (I agree that it is not ALWAYS used this way), when abused, be falsely utilized as an aide for numbing pain and drowning out sorrows, or perhaps even as a catalyst for confidence, where an underlying self-doubt remains the underlying issue – all the while, it provides a vain form of makeup for the real blemishes, which need real attention. Lacking confidence (something I sincerely understand the struggle in), is essentially doubting the LORD’s goodness and ability to redeem, your life. Hence, why all of sin is such a mirage – the promise of something great, with the reward of brokenness and continued thirst.
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7: 37b-38) There is Living Water capable of quenching your thirst. Do all that is within your power to avoid The Mirage and head for the true waters of our LORD and Savior.
“Passion conveys the gritty determination to finish the task at hand. That’s why the final days of Jesus’ life are known as Passion Week. Passion is about doing whatever it takes to get what’s most important to you. And what we wanted most was for Jesus’ name to be echoed throughout the land.” (Louie Giglio, “Passion”)
The mirage is out there, but so is real life and real victory. There is indeed an opponent of our pursuit of LIFE, but there is also the very Giver of Life waging war for the redemption of our souls. Find your courage in Him. Live with passion.