To justify simple sins in our lives is to join ranks with the false prophets that Isaiah speaks about in chapter 9 verse 15, “…the prophets who teach lies are the tail,” and the tail is controlled by the Great Red Dragon of Revelation who is the Devil. (Revelation 12:3-4:9). To justify sin in our life is equal to deceiving ourselves. If we are able to deceive ourselves, then we can deceive others.
The overcomer in this is the one who first recognizes they are in sin, and then chooses to do the right thing. For many, doing the right thing is not an easy task. It can be hard, because the right thing may mean giving up something we really want for ourselves. If you find yourself arguing to defend an action that seems wrong to others but right to you, you might want to check yourself and see if you have stepped into a deceptive ring with the Devil.
The worst of this is not just about you and me. It’s about those we influence around us and under us. Our deception not only can destroy our leadership credibility and the gospel of Jesus Christ, it can kill another’s walk with God. Sadly, when we think of doing something wrong, we see big instead of small. We justify small sins with, “It’s not sexual. It’s not blatant theft. It’s not murder.” The reality is this, sin never starts big, it always starts small. In those silent moments of justification, it’s much like a seed that is planted in the garden. We plant inappropriate sexual thoughts, we steal ideas, we plagiarize, we commit white-collar theft (embezzling money/things/time from our employer on a small scale), and we may murder by way of slandering another’s reputation through gossip. These are the small seeds that grow into the big trees of full-size public sins.
James says it directly “…it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17). It really doesn’t matter how well you have justified and manipulated the small sin; if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, it is sin. What’s a believer to do? What’s a leader to do? We are to DO THE RIGHT THING, regardless of whether we like it or not. This is not only the righteous thing to do, it’s the mature thing. Maturity is often marked by the sacrifices we make for the good of others and the honor of the gospel vs. the plethora of knowledge we have accumulated and the charisma we display. Are we mature is the question? Or have we decided to remain an adolescent in our walk with God?
King Asa of Judah in 2 Chronicles 16 decided to remain an adolescent. He relied on the King of Aram and not on the Lord. Therefore, what he did was not right, what he did was foolish. His foolishness brought him great affliction even to his physical health. King Asa trusted his own vision and not God’s. He trusted his own power to solve his problems. And his vision failed. In the end, he sought his own glory, and he had no reverence for the Lord. (Take note, you can’t revere the Lord and seek your own glory at the same time – it’s like oil and water, they don’t mix – the oil always wins!)
God, seeking to draw Asa back to reliance upon Him, He reminded King Asa of past successes in his life. Through Hanani, God said to King Asa, “Were not the Cushites and the Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horseman? Yet, when you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand.” Hanani concluded with, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You (King Asa) have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (2 Chronicles 16:8-9). King Asa became full of pride so much so that even in his severe illness (a disease in his feet), he still did not seek the Lord for help but only from a physician – man alone. In my opinion, his real illness was a heart of pride and unfortunately, that crippled his feet of continued influence.
We cannot do the wrong thing and have a heart that is fully committed to the Lord. When our heart is divided between “my way” and God’s way, we can only expect God to withdraw from us, not support us. As a Christian He is always there, but if we choose to live in sin, His support and strength will be at bay until we repent and DO THE RIGHT THING. If we continue to do the wrong things, we will not only distance our relationship with God, eventually others will catch on and we will be (at war) or in conflict with them. All because we support self above the righteous acts that God wants us to do.
Dear Friend, save yourself the troubles, and simply do the right thing. It’s what really matters in light of eternity! Is what you are doing now truly worth the withdrawal of God’s strength, or being the stumbling block to those in your influence, or worse bringing dishonor to our Lord Jesus Christ? Is it? No, my friends, it is not. DO THE RIGHT THING!