How Far Can I Go?

Post date: Sep 29, 2011 4:07:52 PM

Reposted from 2009-06-22

Someone once told me, "Say a prayer, God will forgive you." They were referring to the premature breaking of a fast, and no matter how tempted I was, I was determined to see it through to the end. Never the less, I've been thinking about those 5 words people seem to ask.

"How Far Can I Go?"

The question never comes from a pursuing of God, but generally from people pursuing worldly things. The question is always "How far can I go" connected to a before it's sin or some other indication that they're trying to stick their hand near fire without being burned. Sadly, the heart is set on something other than God and usually a relationship or sexual pursuit is the context I hear most of the time. I used to think that I could sin 6 days a week, then was "extra good" on Sunday to honor God. So, I'd cut the profanity and stuff for one day. I laugh because that "extra good" amounts to menstrual rags (Isaiah 64:6). Too bad I didn't have that conviction earlier in life.

N E Rate....

So, people put their hands in fire. They feel the heat, but keep getting closer to see how far they can go before they're burned. It gets hotter and hotter and hotter. Finally, the flame touches them and they pull back in pain. The realization of the danger behind what they were doing finally hits them. Sadly, it took getting burned for them to realize not to play with it. The easiest example to point out is in relationships. I've seen to many friends and family pursuing God, then place their eyes on someone. They start with "innocent" displays of affection, then later share a bed and see no wrong in it. In fact, they usually attempt to justify themselves.

We're exhorted to flee temptation. (1 Timothy 6:9-11) Temptation will always be around. Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden, so was Jesus tempted in the desert. Temptation is nothing new. But take a moment to consider how Christ dealt with it. Jesus simply quoted scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus, when cornered, rested in scripture for His responses to temptation. Yet, many of us are willing to give a little and compromise. We're willing to say, well, I can go a little further. Then further, and further, and further until we're blatantly sinning.

An example in my own life was gaming. I used to be addicted to video games. I'd play one round. Then, I had time for another. Then another, and another, and another.... finally, it was way past bed time and there was no reasonable excuse for my being up so late. I'd pay for it the next morning at work (I usually worked the opening shift). But, it's not just about opening shifts. Anything you give into temptation on can be detrimental to your walk with God.

For this reason, it is good to have family. Spiritual and natural family are both essential. They can point out those areas where you are slacking. If you're a compulsive gamer (like I was), having someone to help keep you accountable helps. If you're in a relationship, have a spiritual covering to keep you accountable. If there's anything in your life that may be holding you back, being open and vulnerable to someone helps. I believe, this is why Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. Where one was weak, the other would be strong. In the end, it wasn't how far they could go before they sinned, but how great they wanted to pursue God.