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The Sin You Thought Wasn’t a Problem…is a Problem

29 Jul

FearWhen we think about godly living, most of us think of some sins as obvious. Drunkenness, for instance, is something we want to avoid. Scripture makes that pretty clear:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

Among believers, at least in North America, there is a healthy stigma with being drunk, and so most of us are careful to avoid consuming too much alcohol. But there are other significant sins that do not have such stigma, and it probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they did.

Consider Jesus’ words of warning about being ready for the last days:

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 (ESV)

When it comes to what Jesus is warning us against, it almost looks like one of these things doesn’t belong. According to a Greek dictionary, the word translated dissipation refers to “unbridled indulgence in a drinking party”, so it’s very similar to drunkenness. And then we have this phrase, “cares of this life.” We might perhaps better translate this, “the cares of daily life.”

The Cares of Daily Life

Come on, is it really that bad to be weighed down with the cares of daily life? Apparently, yes, for Jesus is saying that our hearts can be weighed down with worries about car repairs, clothing, and the health of our pets as much as they can be weighed down with alcohol. How does this work? Well, alcohol puts a person out of commission to serve God, and…so do the cares of this life. Our little fears throughout the day distract us, keeping us from focusing on Christ and His Kingdom. And the effect is that we are not prepared for His return.

So it’s funny that we Christians can talk about our worrying like it’s nothing: “I’m such a worrier,” we say. “Oh, yeah, me too,” our friend replies. (I know wherein I speak – I’ve said this sort of thing way too many times.) But how many people do you know who come to church laughing and yucking it up about their “big ol’ hangover” from Saturday night? Not too many I would guess.

So what to do with our worries?

1. Stop…and realize that it’s a sin to worry. Then begin to take it as seriously as you would a developing habit of bar-hopping on the weekends. By the way, I’m not advocating putting yourself on a guilt trip – that definitely won’t help – but I am saying that sometimes we have sins in our life that we don’t think of as sinful. The first step toward eating less, in other words, is to call yourself a glutton. And as long as we keep laughing about our “cares of daily life” habit, we will never take worry seriously enough to defeat it.

2. The second step is equally important: Prayer. Devote yourself to prayer over the items on your worry list, then wait for the peace of God to come and guard your heart. (See Philippians 4:6, 7) Much has been written about this, so enough said.

3. Finally, keep the cross always in front of you. It’s Calvary that tells us that, yes, our sin is bad, but it’s also forgiven by the God who loves us so much that He died for us. If He cared so much for us to walk in the way of the cross, will He not care enough for us to handle everything else. Romans 8:32 comes to mind…

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (ESV)

Or, as Tim Keller wrote in The Reason for God:

“The fact that Jesus had to die for me humbled me out of my pride. The fact that Jesus was glad to die for me assured me out of my fear.”

For tomorrow, Thursday, July 30th: Luke 22

 
9 Comments

Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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9 responses to “The Sin You Thought Wasn’t a Problem…is a Problem

  1. Mark Vande Zande

    July 29, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Worrying is a sin ? I guess I haven’t thought about that too much. I have a friend who reads Phil. 4:6-7 every morning. A great way to keep worry in check. “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds everything we can understand. His pease will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”. (NLT)

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    • Roger Knowlton

      July 29, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Yeah, Mark, I don’t know if I have phrased it the best way. We are commanded not to worry, so I suppose it’s right that we call it a sin. It’s definitely out of the will of God. But at the same time, I don’t want to put worriers under a deeper pile than they are already in.

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  2. Tom Castillo

    July 29, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Worry and worship are mutually exclusive terms: you can’t worship if you worry and you can’t worry if you worship. I read recently that “worry is interest paid on troubles not yet come due.” It doesn’t pay to waste your time worrying about something that hasn’t happened and that you have no control over. Surrendering yourself to the Lord will bring you peace beyond understanding.

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  3. Ken

    July 29, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Rog right on
    These verses have been my favorite verses for doing battle since our mind is the battle field, the opposite of worry which continues in verse 8 Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)
    8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
    9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
    (peace the result of not worrying)

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  4. vicky

    July 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks so much Roger I needed this for today. Got some worries on my mind and have to trust God with it all. Thanks for the reminder it’s a sin to worry.

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  5. Ben Gildner

    July 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Hmmm … well, there’s quite a bit of discussion here already, so maybe I’ll be the guy that stirs the pot. The Bible says not to worry. The Bible also says to be joyful and glad of heart. Does that mean sadness is a sin? Or grief? I think we’d be hesitant to say that. We might be more likely to say that God doesn’t want us to wallow in sadness or grief, or be ruled over by them. Should worry perhaps be spoken of similarly?

    To put it in the context of the passage at hand, Jesus doesn’t say not to drink, just not to get drunk. Perhaps we might say that the Lord may not be commanding no worry at all, just not so much that it makes lose the use of our spiritual faculties the way too much alcohol makes us lose the use of our mental and physical faculties.

    Of course I may be completely wrong about this … it just seems like an interesting discussion and I’m perhaps playing the contrarian …

    Ben G.

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    • Roger Knowlton

      July 30, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Well said, Ben. Good insight. And I think you’re right. Paul talked about his anxiety for all the churches (2 Cor 11:28), and in the context, he certainly wasn’t confessing sin. It would be weird and unnatural to ask a parent to have no “concern” for his child when she is driving for the first time. But paralysis is not okay.

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