“It’s a one-time thing.”
Whether knowingly or not, we’ve all said it before. We’ve all tricked ourselves into believing that if we just tell ourselves that it won’t happen again, then everything is okay. “It’s just one lie”, “just one drink”, “just one time”. It’s kind of like Netflix or Showmax. We all know the drill. We know there are other things we should be doing, like finishing homework, spending time in God’s Word, etc. (I’m sure you can think of something else). But instead, we get comfy with our favorite series and determine that we will only watch one episode and then move on to more productive things. One episode ends and the ten-second countdown to the next episode begins. And this is where the conflict lies. Do I click the cancel button to stop the next episode from playing or casually ignore the countdown until the next episode coincidently starts playing? We all know how this story usually ends. Three hours later you find yourself in the exact same spot having done nothing but stared into the screen as your favorite character has just entered the climax of the whole series. How could you stop watching now?
Unfortunately, all too often, this scenario plays out in many areas of our lives and sin just becomes a normal part of it. It doesn’t end at one. We are never satisfied and, as a result, sin doesn’t stop just because we’ve told ourselves that it won’t happen again.
Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!” (Matthew 5:29-30 NIV)
Sin usually progresses and that’s why Jesus makes this seemingly overkill statement. But when you think about it, it’s not really overkill at all. It’s reality. We are designed to enjoy the fullness of life which is meant to only be fulfilled in a relationship with Christ. However, we often go looking for that satisfaction in all the wrong places. We lie to others hoping to gain stature or approval. We take a drink to fill the void in our hearts. We glance at pornography to satisfy our sexual desires. We claim that it’s a “one-time thing” to justify what we know is sin. All that gives us is a false sense of comfort as we fall deeper and deeper into sin. That’s why Jesus tells us to stop it at the source.
You see, the problem with saying “it’s a one-time thing” is that we’re setting ourselves up for failure. We don’t weigh the consequences of what that one time might lead to and we certainly aren’t seeing sin the way we should. One time or a million times, sin is never okay.
James got right to the heart of the matter when he said, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17 NIV).
The Bible makes it clear to us what we should be doing and how we should be living, and to ignore what we know is right is just as foolish as staring at a screen for 3 hours when we know we have more important things to do.
Jesus didn’t die for us so that we would still need to find other things to fulfill us. Only He can do that; and as long as we keep trying other things to fulfill us and make us happy, we’re going to keep coming up empty and far deeper in sin. So the next time you find yourself saying that “it’s just a one-time thing”, remember that Christ came to free you of that thing that only seeks to destroy you. If you want the satisfying life that Jesus has for you, stop settling for lesser things and stop letting those “one-time things” take over your life.
End it before it begins. Pray, seek accountability, and most of all, seek God and all the wonderful things He has for you. Pretty soon, those “one-time things” will start to become less attractive as you come to enjoy the fullness of your relationship with Him.
~ Ashley Berner