Have you ever tried to change your behaviour? Those New Year’s resolutions you made December 31, 2014….how are they going? That commitment you made to God if He would only get you through some crisis….did you really follow up?
Peter in this 4th chapter of his letter of encouragement and admonition challenges the early Christians to change their behaviour. He, rightfully, expects Christ-followers to live differently than those who profess no faith. Note his warning….
“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give accountto him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:3-5)
1) In the past the conduct of these Christians was no different than anyone else. Before God in His grace had saved them, they gave full expression to their ‘desires’ to the passions which raged within them. They did what they wanted with whom they wanted when they wanted to.
2) Behaviour is a choice. There are no ‘debauchery’ genes, or ‘lust’ genes, or ‘drunkenness’ genes. Granted, our environment has shaped our exposure to sin. I was blessed immensely to have parents for whom tobacco or illegal drugs were not considered ‘normal.’
3) Sinful behaviour manifests itself in a variety of ways. Do you know how many ‘sin lists’ are in the New Testament? Galatians 5:19-21 provides a useful summary of the sexual and spiritual sins, sins of attitude and appetite. Although the ongoing indulgence in any of these will keep one from inheriting the kingdom of God, the biggest list is that of attitudes.
4) “Misery loves company.” Sin is often encouraged and Proverbs reminds us – “If sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s…..” People ‘feel’ better if others ‘break’ God’s law with them. We compound our guilt before a holy God by engaging others in sinful thoughts, words and deeds.
5) Temptation is ‘playing’ with sin as foolishly as a child would play with a wild lion. Sure, the lion may appear ‘tame’ and well-controlled, but in a few moments its ‘instincts’ will kick in and the child will sadly become another object of prey for the wild beast.
6) When you ‘play’ with sin and then try to quit, those you play with will heap abuse upon you. One sin begets another and addictions are formed, in any area of disobedience, one choice at a time.
7) All must give an account to God for their choices. Believers who have owned up, admitted to and judged their sin, pleading ‘guilty as charged’ turn to Christ, the Saviour of sinners. The hymnwriter nailed it with the words – “I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”
May God open our hearts this day to see our sin as He sees it, and to see our sinless Saviour! As far as our sinful habits go….it’s time to quit!