A major step in my spiritual development came when I finally discarded a legalistic view of sin. Yes, sin violates God's laws. Yes, that violation has consequences in our lives. But I focused on the wrongness of sin. So, if I could rationalize that it wasn't that wrong, then it became easier to slip into it. Kind of like running a red light if no cars are in sight. Basically, viewing a wrong as less wrong made me more likely to do that wrong. Then I discovered another dimension of sin, one that changed not just how I view sin, but how I view God.
She walked by
flaunting her body
and the spikes dug deeper into your hands
His voice soared
leading us in praise
and the thorns pressed deeper into your brow
telling false stories
and the spear pierced deeper into your side
She took your name
I stayed silent
and the jeering voices rose in volume
I chose to follow
and darkness descended on the land
How can I do this to you?
That last word reveals a process. "Getting" this concept didn't instantly transform my life, but it started a change. So how do I deal with temptation differently now? Rather than thinking I merely breaking a law, I realize I break a heart. God's. Godliness flows from God's character, so when I act in an ungodly manner I proclaim God's character doesn't mean that much to me. If we love God, that touches us much more deeply, at the core of our soul, at the center of our relationship with him, than does running a red light.
Yes, the law counts. But the heart counts far more.
Kick Starting the Application
Think about this carefully. Before this piece, what made sin wrong? A law? An interruption in your spiritual growth? A breaking of God's heart? What brought you to that place? Has reading this post changed how you view sin? Why is breaking God's heart worse than breaking God's law? Will this change how you respond to temptation?