What is the end to your sinful behavior or thought pattern?
Will endless shopping leave you in bankruptcy, committing you to a life of working 40-60 hours until you die?
Will numerous affairs create such love triangles which will end your marriage in divorce and have your kids hating you?
Will gossiping or bossing around people ruin your reputation, resulting in people never trusting you?
Will getting buzzed two nights a week turn to four, then drinking out of control at work, at home and while driving in the car, ultimately leaving you or someone else permanently injured?
Will your anger issue that has lead to physically acting out one day lead to acting out on another person, putting you in jail?
Some of these results may seem like over reactions, or things you would “never” do, and I agree to some point. However, the behaviors and thought patterns now, positive or negative both tend to grow. Positively, a person who starts to exercise only can lift a certain amount of weight. However, over time, that weight grows. Love for your kids grow over time, same with a spouse in a healthy relationship. Start investing, shooting to reach a goal of retirement, and my guess is your monthly deposits grow if you really want that end goal. Even if it doesn’t, compound interest takes over and grows it even faster than you can imagine.
This “increasing” happens on the negative side, and many times even faster. You need more beer to get that buzz, more expensive dresses to really turn heads, your anger with a co-worker blows up to an all out office war, and flirting with a neighbor now has you taking them out to lunch without your girlfriend knowing. Levels of sin don’t catch our attention when they are small, or do they really fire off the red flags that an all out crisis do. An extra beer, $50 more in shopping, a small tiff at work or “innocent” flirt don’t mean anything to us at first.
Here is a quick test to see if you think “little increases” are red flags for greater sin to come:
1. Are you hiding the action or thought pattern from anyone?
2. If a friend or family member would be effecting you, even slightly with this behavior or thought pattern, would it bother you?
3. Are you doing whatever it is 25-50% more than you were 30-90 days ago?
4. Have you tried to stop whatever it is more than once and failed?
I think if you answer “yes” to one of these, I would ask someone’s opinion on it. If you said yes to two of these, I think it is probably a red flag. If you said yes three times, trust me, it is a red flag. But, if you’ve said yes to all four questions, seek help immediately.
Next week we’ll talk about the next steps…