My sin only affects me.
While these exact words may not have crossed your lips, this lie is one that you have believed at some point in your life.
As we talk this month about the lies of Satan, we have to remind ourselves that the Devil is smooth. More often than not you will not see his lies from a mile away. Slightly more terrifying, you will not see his lies when they are staring you in the face. You know the saying “if it were a snake it would’ve bit you?” Well, it’s a snake. And it’s biting you right now but you don’t even realize it.
I deliberated for weeks about how to write this article. I thought about discussing the “ugly” sins (disclaimer: every sin is ugly in God’s eyes), like pornography. But I think that those sins come after Satan has built a foundation of lies and temptations to strengthen the blinder he has pulled over our eyes. By this, I mean that sexual sin or big, scandalous things are sins that we are quicker to recognize, so he must take baby steps to work the way up. Mark Hall of Casting Crowns calls it a slow fade. Now, before I dive into this article, I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not believe there are “little” sins and “big” sins. There is just sin. I do not wish to crack open a theological debate in this, though I would be happy to discuss my theology with you if that is something you find necessary.
So instead of choosing a sin like adultery, I want to focus on three seemingly small sins and how they affect not just you.
I tread into dangerous waters with this one, but hey, why not talk about it? I’ve heard some interesting opinions about this, but I’m not interested in theories; I’m interested in what the Word of God says about it. Probably one of the clearest passages on this topic is found in Philippians 3. Paul is moved to tears as he writes:
“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:17-19 ESV)
Huh. Before we get to the obvious section, I want to point out that Paul says they “glory in their shame.” That does not sound like people seeing clearly…it sounds like people who have been duped by Satan. Paul is moved to tears because they cannot see. Imagine if your best friend suddenly became deathly ill. Imagine that the sickness was devouring them, but they refused to believe/see that they were suffering. It would move you to tears as well.
One of the shameful things they are doing is committing the sin of gluttony. What is gluttony? Well, basically it is making your stomach the god of your life, as Paul puts it. A lot of people whom I greatly respect have offered varying definitions on this and I encourage you to seek out your own answer to this question. My answer would be this:
Gluttony is when what we eat—whether it is in our excitement over it or our consumption of it or both—becomes more important to us than God.
Before you jump to saying, “I would never!” I want you to really, really consider how much time, effort, and excitement food is taking up. Then compare that with your relationship to God. I’ll leave the rest of it up to you.
How does this affect others? In multiple ways. First of all, excitement is contagious, no matter what it is about. So you can cause others to stumble, especially those who are especially weak in this area. I do not mean to suggest that posting food pictures and videos on Facebook is a sin (it’s not), but I am saying to think about it. Think long and hard. Beyond this, gluttony can take our focus off those around us and put it on food, which is not fair to them. I have been guilty of this in the past and so I encourage you to do some serious evaluation of your life and not write off gluttony as a sin you do not struggle with. Because writing off gluttony as “Oh, I don’t do that” is exactly the little lies Satan wants you to believe.
Examples of selfishness:
- Not washing the dishes. Sure, you did the lunch dishes so you shouldn’t have to do the dinner ones, but this is still selfishness.
- Putting off projects or work that is due to spend some time on yourself.
- Not tithing.
Okay, are you mad yet? If I had read this initially I would be preparing my grand argument against these ridiculous examples. Bear with me here, dear reader.
We are selfish with our energy. This is a real thing, especially for me (I’m a very lazy person—it’s one of the biggest things I have to fight each day). I do not want to take initiative and help out. I want to do the bare minimum and hope everyone else takes care of the rest. This is being selfish.
We are selfish with our time. I realize sometimes we think we need “me-time”, but that is a luxury. Talk to Paul about “me-time” when you get to Heaven and you’ll realize how wrong you were. Sure, sometimes you need a break, but I understand that a lot of you are like me and need a kick in the pants more than you truly need a break. Don’t listen to the whispering of Satan! He wants nothing more than for you to believe you have done enough and you need some “me-time” (or is it “you-time”?). This is being selfish.
We are selfish with our money. Guys, we are called to give generously and cheerfully. There’s no excuse not to. No matter how much or how little God has blessed you with, you are called to be faithfully generous with it. Satan wants you to believe that you don’t have to tithe. Or, if you are tithing, he wants you to believe that tithing is enough. It’s not. Giving should not be something we check off our checklist. This is being selfish.
Okay, let’s get real for a minute. Dancing is scary. Scary for those doing it, scary for those watching it. We believe the cultural lie that it will be cool and that people will like us, but it is simply not true. I implore you, the younger generation of the world, to not dance. Just don’t do it.
It is a colossal failure that has somehow persisted throughout the ages. Let us be the generation to end it. I know when the music starts and the rhythm gets going, you feel like you cannot help it…but that is a lie. To quote my buddy Joel Osteen, you can. You will.
[DISCLAIMER: The above section on dancing is meant to be humorous. We do not agree with Joel Osteen, nor do we condemn dancing.]
I hope that this article will maybe cause you to evaluate these two areas (possibly three, if you take life too seriously) and other aspects in which Satan has pulled the blinders over your eyes. I pray that God uses this article – and really this whole series – to spark change in your life.