The funny thing about this question is how much it “sells out” the person asking. I’ve been in ministry for nearly 20 years and 9-times-out-10, when this question has been asked, God has already been dealing with the one asking. Going a step further, this question usually reveals the heart as well. They’re (usually) someone who either wants to have someone confirm the conviction they’re already feeling or they’re wanting someone to justify whatever it is they’re doing and tell them it’s okay.
When talking about sin, I’ve found that to get to the heart of it, you’ve got to get the start of it. What do I mean? Back to the garden in Genesis 3:1-7 we find:
1. More Than a Question
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
I hope that you can see the pathetic irony of this question. In context, it is virtually the exact same as asking, "Is it sinning if I ____?" I've heard it said, "Intent is prior to content." and also, "Where there is a pretext to a context, there will always be a prooftext." What do all these clever colloquialisms mean? The motive behind a question reveals more than the question itself. Sin is always present when God’s Word is questioned with ill-intent. Always beware the subtle spirit outside of you that is jealous of God’s relationship with you, who wants to ruin that for you.
2. Weak-Willed Answers
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 But God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Have you ever attempted to say something as clearly as you could, only for someone to misquote you? How did that make you feel? Can you imagine how it must make the scars in Jesus' palms itch when we do the same to Him? Playing word games with The Word only hurts us in the end. When we don’t abide in God’s Word, we often mistake or misrepresent it.
3. Attracted to Autonomy
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
"Auto-" meaning "self" + "-nomos" meaning "law" = a law unto oneself.
The enemy knows how attracted we are to the idea of not having to answer to anyone. It's his biggest play and cruelest trick. At least he's consistent. Shouldn't we see through this by now? Trying to be our own "god" always ends badly, tragically and with great heartache. The job has already been filled, and there are no other viable candidates to consider. Fill your life with doing the good you know to do and then, more than likely, you won't have worry about the opportunity to do something that might be sin.
4. Looks That Kill
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Some things that look good can actually kill us because they were not meant to be consumed. When you were a kid, do you remember those shrubs that have the little red berries on them? The ones that you were just about to eat a handful of and that you carefully picked, only to have an adult slap your hand or yell out, "Don't eat those! They're poisonous."
Also, it's important to note that there will always be those who want you to share in their sin and they will entice you much in the same way they were. It's an interesting paradox that while sin can isolate us, at the same time, most people don't like to be alone in their sin. These people usually look for a support group that tells them it's okay for them to do what it is they're doing. If toxic people are telling you it's okay, that ought to be your first clue to reconsider your actions. Run in the opposite direction of these people!
5. Being "woke" Isn't What You Think
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Awareness is not always the answer we thought it would be. It can be a deeper level of enslavement altogether. Adam and Eve learned this the hard way and their story is still being told in hopes of rescuing humanity from deeper depravity. Sadly, their eyes were now opened to the fact that their unlimited access to God was now abruptly closed as a result of their actions.
Covering up sin will never bring purity and health back into the situation or into your life. God sees it. He sees the intention of your heart. It may not even be "bad", but it may just be that God is trying to show you the importance of healthy barriers. Focus on saying yes to Jesus and you won't have to worry about saying no to the sin.
So, just be honest with God. If you're not sure if something is sin or not. Pray about it. Look into Scripture for any insight. Then respond accordingly.
What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Tell us how this post helped you. Or tell us what we missed. Also, feel free to let us know which topics you'd like us to cover in the future.
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