Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Vicious Cycle and the Road to Victory

Satan has one objective in mind: to get all peoples to worship anything but the living God.

He uses one very effective strategy to knock us off the pattern of faithfulness to Christ.

#1: Begin by tempting the believer with a very small compromise.
#2: Make the compromise a habit
#3: As the habit of small compromise becomes more regular, convince the believer that because God is disappointed he will not bless or welcome him
#4: As the believer stays longer and longer away from his source of life, he becomes weaker and more vulnerable to bigger compromises. Use this to cause him to seek life in futility in bigger and more sinister ways.
#5: Now that the believer is far enough away from his source of life, it's much easier to distort his view of God. The believer is miserable and empty, but last on his list of solutions is the true answer that resides in the Son of God.

In short, the cycle works like this:

Temptation -> Sin -> Condemnation -> Sin -> Doubt -> Death

What's the way to get out of this vicious cycle?

Meditation of Truth -> Recognition of Grace -> Repentance -> Restoration - > Growth

At every stage of sin's vicious cycle, deception acts as fuel. It's untrue that sin will satisfy. It's untrue that God won't forgive. It's untrue that we're unredeemable. It's untrue that any solution apart from Christ is viable. The way to break out of this deceptive hold is by believing in the truth.

What does the truth tell us? Jesus said that he is the truth. Huh? What can this mean?

Jesus shows us the truth of God by his life, sacrifice, and resurrection. Jesus showed us that God is compassionate, merciful, and gracious, and has provided us a way back. He is eager to save and welcome sinners. The truth tells us of the assurance of mercy and forgiveness when we turn to him. The truth tells of grace that is readily available to us at every moment.

When we know that grace awaits us on the other side of repentance, it becomes a whole lot easier to turn back to God. The lie says that God, on the other side of repentance, awaits with wrath, but this is not so. On the other side of repentance lives a gracious, loving Father who has been waiting for us to return to him. In fact, he is ready to gird his loins and sprint out the door in order to greet us with his affections. When we see this grace, we can repent without fear.

As I deal with the cycles of my sin, I'm inclined to believe that the thing I need to do most is to make time ASAP to meditate on God's word. It will lead me up the road to victory in Christ.

Therefore, one of the greatest weapons that the enemy has on us is to distract us, so as to prevent us from making time for meditation. Knowing this, may I meditate on God's word readily and often in order to stay on the path, not looking to the left or to the right. May I soar onward and upward on the wings of Christ. Amen.

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