No man fails on purpose. Yet, spiritual and moral failures abound.
A few years ago I taught a lesson to our men’s group which focused on temptations men face. The workbook we were using quoted C.S. Lewis on this subject and was a turning point for many in the group. Lewis wrote,
“It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the person away from the light and out into the nothing… Indeed, the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
The truth communicated by Lewis rings true. It reminded me of something a former mentor of mine once said. He emphasized repeatedly that comprise comes through the smallness of our daily surrenders.
It’s giving up that little bit of personal conviction each day. It’s the little piece of candy no one will ever know you ate. It’s watching that program or visiting that website when you are all alone. You get the picture.
Usually the first surrender to “small, insignificant sins” makes it easier to fall prey to them again and again. The damage comes from the “cumulative effect” Lewis was pointing to. Few men wake up in the morning planning to sin spectacularly later in the day. Yet those daily surrenders build up over time. Give a little ground here and there and before you know it, you’re in trouble. In fact, you become practically unrecognizable, to even yourself. You didn’t plan in advance for this to happen, but those daily surrenders were enough to do the trick.
Therefore we must be vigilant. We need to work from the foundation of knowing who we are in Christ. We need to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). Those “daily surrenders” needn’t reign over us. The same Spirit who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead dwells in us as well.
Yet, we also need to exercise the self-awareness that recognizes those areas in our lives wherein we are weak. We ought to ask ourselves: Are we being less watchful in some areas of our lives than others? Even the small, seemingly insignificant areas? Are we overly confident we would never again fall prey to that particular temptation? A member of my church used to remind me often, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”
Brothers, if you want to avoid those small daily surrenders, then pray for God to deliver you from temptation. But don’t forget to do your part. Name those temptations in advance. Talk with a godly brother you trust and ask him to hold you accountable. Renew your mind daily in God’s Word. The Apostle Paul shared God’s wisdom on this point when he wrote in Philippians 4:8-9,
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
What are you thinking on?
Walking Points: What are those areas in your life that tempt you the most? What are some practical things you can do to resist them? Set an appointment today with a brother in Christ and ask him to pray for you and to help keep you accountable.
Grace and Truth,
If you would like to learn more about how to grow in your faith, please check out my website, DaleTedder.com. We've also started a new podcast called, Walking Points. Its purpose is to help men follow Jesus Christ in every sphere of their lives. We're working on enabling it to be downloaded, but presently it can only be listened to via streaming. Our most recent episode is an interview with a member of our church on the topic of what it means to represent Christ in the workplace.
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