When temptation knocks on the door of our hearts, it presents itself as irresistible. Whether we’re tempted to gossip, lie or engage in sexual immorality, the temptation will do its best to be appealing; we aren’t tempted by things we hate! In those moments, it’s easy to think sin (acting on the temptation) will make us happy. Further, we’re often led to believe that the consequences of sin will be worth the short-term satisfaction of disobedience.
But the reality is that sin will not make us happy, and the consequences are often far worse than we anticipate.
Sin Pleases the Flesh, but Pains the Soul
What is sin? James 4:17 gives a simple answer: “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
If sin weren’t at all satisfactory, we probably wouldn’t be tempted by it. Sin always has some measure of “goodness” about it—enough truth to deceive, enough pleasure to make the pain seem worth it. But because sin is contrary to the character of our loving God, it can never tell us the whole truth. Our spiritual Enemy wants to separate us from peace with God, and he’ll do anything to accomplish that.
That’s why sin initially pleases our flesh: our bodies, our eyes, our minds and our pride. It begs us to walk further into sin until we give up hope of ever getting out. That’s why we need to recognize the consequences and nature of sin before those temptations take place!
We have a hope in the midst of temptation: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) We are freed from the pain of sin when we make choices according to the voice of God in our being.
Sin Destroys Peace
Think about it: Have you ever been tempted to do something wrong while thinking, “This will bring such peace to my life and relationships”? Probably not! Sin destroys peace—it does not promote it. When we choose gossip, slander or pride, we’re consciously choosing to reject peace with God and man.
What’s more, the peace in our hearts is removed when we live in sin. It’s that sense that something is wrong between you and God—a sense of distance and removal. That discomfort is caused by sin! We cannot continue in holy communion with God when our hearts are aligned with the flesh. To have peace, we simply do what it says in 1 John:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
Sin Never Stays Still
Finally, sin never stays stagnant. Just as we are either moving forward in our relationship with God or backward into our old, selfish state, sin will either drag you further into itself or you’ll walk by the Spirit. There is no passive place for the Christian in this equation!
Know the nature of sin and be on guard when temptation comes—and it will. The Bible gives us the tools necessary to fight temptation:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Sin does not have to be our master. Christ came so we could be free! Next time you are tempted by the “satisfaction” of sin, remember who satisfies your soul, and look to Him first.