I was reading this morning in the 25th chapter of Genesis about when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the cost of a bowl of stew:
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. ) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.
Is your first reaction, like mine, something like “What a stupid, stupid man” or, something like that?
I’m reading a book entitled “Disciplines of a Godly Man” by R. Kent Hughes for a Men’s Bible/Book study group in our church. In the chapter about the discipline of purity, Hughes quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer about when lust takes control: “At this moment God…loses all reality…Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” Hughes continues: “When we are in the grip of lust, the reality of God fades. The longer King David leered (at Bathsheba), the less real God became to him. Not only was his awareness of God diminished, but David lost awareness of who he himself was – his holy call, his frailty, and the certain consequences of sin. This is what lust does! It has done it millions of times. God disappears to lust-glazed eyes.”
I find it amazing and despicable that Christians (myself included), the beneficiaries of the greatest miracle in the form of salvation, have such a strong tendency to disregard the promises, calling, assurances, and testimonies of the scripture and delve into intimate, private, personal, and compromising sins and situations. And yet, the Christian church is filled with this. According to Leadership Magazine, 1 out of 8 pastors surveyed admitted to adultery during their ministry, and 1 out of 4 pastors admitted to other sexually inappropriate actions. The survey found that these numbers doubled for church members who weren’t clergy.
Just as Esau gave away something of great value for the pleasure of a moment, Christians left and right are engaging themselves in sins of the moment, with no apparent perceived consequences, according to the lie they are believing. Unfortunately, this deception is very prevalent – these purity-related sins have vast consequences which affect our lives, families, church, and testimony (just to name a few areas). Look at David’s life after his sin with Bathsheba.
Seeing Christians represent themselves poorly on social outlets such as facebook and forwarded emails (to name a few) – remorse would be one thing, but there is so often an apparent lack of the need to express remorse. We’re stuck in sin, and we don’t even call it what it is, and are under the belief that we’re “ok with God” and that He is “ok with us.”
When we give ground, instead of carrying the high standard of Christ, then sins become this grey-area quagmire to us. Things such as divorce and adultery become justifiable. Sexual sins become pardonable and “the norm” in society. Instead of being evil, pornography is “something everyone does.” And instead of presenting a pure sacrifice like Abel did, we present a tarnished sacrifice like Cain did, and then live a life full of excuses and rationalization like Cain did when confronted about his sacrifice, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Let the Lord’s words to Cain in Genesis 4:6-7 be our guide – “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”