No matter our sin, God always provides us with a way out of our lifestyle and the eternal consequences by providing himself as a city of refuge where we can run for safety.
No Matter Our Sin
Each of us carries our own sense of sin, just as each one of us is a unique individual. Some of us constantly wrestle with specific sins while others go through "seasons" of general temptation. However, we all deal with sin.
At times, temptation is in-your-face. But, most often sin is subtle, quiet and easily accesible. Sin tends to layer itself into our lives as opposed to showing up all at one time. Alcoholics don't start out that way, they get to alcoholism one day at a time; one step at a time.
Sin - in whatever form it takes - is deadly. And, God treats it that way. Many times, we allow sin into our lives and then get trapped by it. When we come to the realization that we are trapped, that is the time to "run" to a place of refuge.
God Always Provides Us With a Way Out of Our Lifestyle
"Lifestyle" sin is different than one-hit sins. One hit sins are those sins that tend to come from outside influences and reactions. If we get in a car wreck and utter a curse word, that is a "one-hit" sin. Lifestyle sins take on a whole different role in our lives.
Lifestyle sins happen over time. They become rooted in our lives and grow thick and deep. Because of the slowness, we don't even notice the subtle changes going on in our lives; but those changes are there. And the longer a sin lives inside us, the less able we are to see the dark reality in our lives.
Then, one day, we hear a sermon, or read a book, or talk to a friend and WHAMO! we see the sin for what it is. The Holy Spirit shows us a "righteous mirror" of who we have become and our consciences cry out for forgiveness. God has provided us with a way out.
And the Eternal Consequences
Every action in this life has eternal ramifications. Every thought we think, word we say, action we commit. And, there are consequences for those actions.
Forgiveness is so powerful, that it literally changes eternity. God's love is so strong that - through the death of Jesus on the cross - He "blots" out our sins.
By Providing Himself as a City Of Refuge
Sometimes we get so aquainted with Jesus' sacrifice on the cross that we lose sight of the eternal-ality of what he did. He changed eternity. Before the cross, sins were always present just rolled forward by sacrifice. The sins had not been dealt with, just postponed. There was a reckoning coming; and Jesus came to face it head on.
So, when we are dealing with "lifestyle" sin, we aren't just living "negatively." We are literally separating ourselves from God. And, the farther we get from God the more comfortable we get with living away from Him. We are living small lives, but sin creates a lie that says "my life's pretty good."
Sin blinds us to the truth, until we are supernaturally reminded how wretched and worthless we are and how our sins destroy our attitudes, our potential and our sense of reality. When Jesus shows up in our lives, nothing can stop the truth from coming out in our lives.
Where We Can Run For Safety
When we wake up to our "lifestyle" sin, we have two options; stay where we're at and continue to slowly "die," or RUN to Jesus for safety.
Forgiveness is our "city" of refuge. And what a beautiful city it is. In essence, forgiveness cleans our souls, minds and hearts. Forgiveness takes away the burden that our sin has become and leaves us refreshed, renewed and "light." We are made new.
When we run to Jesus' forgiveness, we are starting over. Our slate is made clean and we gain perspective to see where we have been and where God wants us to go.
How sweet it is to know there is rest for us - in forgiveness.