Temptation can cause us to succumb, sink, sin, or stand. - William Ward
This weekend my church had a Church Covenant signing. I went into this service thinking, "I made my commitment to this church years ago, so this is nothing new or extremely significant to me." I thought it was a nice, sorta sentimental, idea...which was fine because I am a very sentimental person, but in my head the signing of the covenant was just restating a commitment I'd already made and been faithful to. However, as members of the church read the covenant aloud and people came forward to sign, I was overcome. This Covenant wasn't just about a commitment to a particular body of believers, it was affirming our individual and corporate covenant with the Lord. It was saying "We, this group assembled together, believe this about God and are committed to living as such, for the sake of His glory, the furtherance of His Kingdom and our mutual sanctification."
As we listened to the covenant being read and sang songs that proclaimed these truths, I couldn't help think about how I'd fallen short. The gravity of the reality that, in so doing, I'd broken covenant with God AND that that breech made those I was connected to vulnerable as well, was very, VERY sobering. I thought about the lives of those around me, lives marred and even destroyed by sin and was broken. I thought of the women and girls I know who compromised in relationships, who were married in secret because of sin, who live with regret after giving themselves to a man who was not as faithful as he promised to be, who are married to a man who wasn't what the deceitfulness of sin allowed them to believe he was, who have turned their backs on God for a version of Him that allows for the indulgence of their flesh, friends who continue to lean on drugs, alcohol or relationships instead of God. And then I thought, but for the grace of God someone could be grieving over the sames things in my life.
I am not so naive to believe for one second that, if the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't succumb and sin with the hope of ending my singleness. I have compromised what I profess to believe to indulge my flesh in other ways...for things that do not promise to give me the one thing I want more than anything else on this earth: a husband and family. So, how can I assume that the line would somehow be drawn just short of fornication or adultery? I can't.
The truth is, that these "smaller" compromises and indulgences make me even more vulnerable. By God's grace, my compromises and indulgences are not habitual, but they do happen...and they happen more than they should. I am called to be holy as He is holy and anytime my flesh takes priority over holiness, I am on a slippery slope which can, might I even dare to say WILL lead to the "bigger and badder" sins.
I believe that none of the men and women I thought of in that sobering moment this weekend thought they would sin as they did. But I also believe that, long before that seemingly uncrossable line was crossed, there was choice after choice for the flesh over the spirit until that line was a hazy sliver in the rear-view mirror of their lives.
That is sad and frightening.
Lord, let it not be so in your church. Sober us. Put fresh fire in us for Your Word. Grant us the gift of repentance and Your Spirit that we might stand when temptation comes and go on to walk in a manner worthy of the Name of Christ, by which we are called!