Friends! Friends! Friends!
As a Christian, I do not know if any of you ever experience this: getting to a point where an inner voice (the self voice), begins to convince you that you are being overly religious in some matters or even ‘too holy or too uptight’. The voice says, “nobody is that holy.”
I personally experience such kinds of inner strife between my flesh and the spirit when my flesh wants me to submit to it. I confess, sadly, there are times I succumb and let it convince me to let my guard down on certain things.
Some people may view this as being too hard on myself, maybe even throwing the ‘no one is that perfect’ phrase. But if we are honest, this isn’t at all about trying to be perfect. Stating it as it is, it is disobedience to God brought about by a disregard of the convictions of the Holy Spirit.
God brought Lot’s wife to my attention in regard to this issue and I realized much to my dismay, that people do not slip away from God overnight. It begins subtly. One compromise here and another there… soon, there are so many compromises, followed by spiritual laziness, then to spiritual boredom in the things of the Lord, and eventually to full grown sin.
We can learn a great deal from Lot’s life and how to avoid stepping on similar landmines. The scriptures tell us,
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
It is easy to look down on Lot, and baffle at how his life turned out, how his conscience got so numb to the sin around him, that he was even willing to offer up his daughters to men burning with strange desires to do with them whatever they pleased.
If we also looked really keenly, we would find that there are several instances too, that we tolerate situations around us that go against God’s word for long periods of time without ever speaking up about them or even distancing ourselves from them.
We think to ourselves, “because this isn’t affecting my life, I have no business addressing it.”
But truth is, we accept and even approve what we tolerate.
Sin does not begin with a huge fall. It begins subtly, until it becomes full-blown eventually leading to death. Sin begins with a thought, or a suggestion, or a desire that we fail to address and deal with from the get-go.
1 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.
Notice the stages pointed out by the psalmist:
1. Walking in the counsel of the ungodly,
2. Standing in the way of sinners,
3. Sitting in the seat of the scornful.
This is exactly how Lot got ensnared.
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.
6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
Quoting from the book Abraham by Charles R. Swindoll, he says, “Abram first affirmed their relationship and expressed his desire to preserve harmony between them. Instead of pulling rank, like a selfish uncle, he became a mentor.
In grace, he treated Lot as his equal, appealing to his sense of fair play rather than dictating terms. He then proposed a solution that put Lot in control of his own fate. This was an unselfish act on Abram’s part. I would even go so far as to call it an expression of his growing faith in God. Think about this for a moment. By giving Lot his choice of territory and accepting whatever was left, Abram gave up control of his future. In giving Lot first choice of the land, Abram trusted that God would take care of him regardless of what happened.”
Lot, chose the place that looked lush to the eye. He did not enquire from God, or even consider Abraham. He thought only of himself. This was the beginning of his tragedies. The scripture says, he journeyed east (meaning he walked there by his own volition). He moved into the town and he was now living with wicked people. Though he was righteous, he was in danger of imitating the filthy lives of lawless men. (Ref. 2 Peter 2:7). And since the people of Sodom were known to be wicked, Lot was flirting with temptation by choosing to live near them.
The next time we find him, after being captured by foreign kings and rescued by Abraham while still in Sodom, he is seated at the gate most likely having conversations with other men in Sodom. (It was a practice of men during those days to discuss matters, or even seal agreements at the city gates in the presence of witnesses.)
1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
To express this in modern day english: things went south from there.
2 And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.”
3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.
5 And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
6 So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him,
7 and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!
8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”
9 And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.
After the angels of the Lord struck the Sodomite men with blindness, they instructed Lot to get his family out of Sodom because God was going to destroy the city. But even after those warnings and instructions, Lot, still hesitated. He only managed to convince his daughters and wife since his sons-in-law (to be) refused to take him seriously. It is so unfortunate, he had lost the power of persuasion even among his family members.
He managed to get out (by the mercies and grace of God), with his two daughters only because his wife looked back. She looked back. She looked back. She looked back. She looked back. She turned and looked back. I want us to read that again and again. She looked back. With no desire to spiritualize this statement, but this to me, signifies her heart was still set in Sodom for, she desired to go back.
16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”
24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens.
25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
This is a truly tragic end for Lot’s family. Why? Because, these are people who knew God. They were not strangers to His ways, or His word. They were children of God, but their compromise led them to the path of destruction, and finally to death for Lot’s wife.
Truly, recounting this story exposes the hesitations we make and allow even in our own lives in regards to addressing ‘seemingly small sins.’
We allow the flesh to convince us to listen to that song only one time, to watch that ungodly movie as long as we will be pausing, fast-forwarding, or putting on mute those unpleasant parts. We justify our decisions and make excuses for our actions… Soon, before we know it, we have lost all power to say no because we have compromised to a point of no return.
I am writing this message to myself today because I need it. I care not if people think of me as weird or a Holy Joe because I don’t laugh at dirty jokes, watch worldly movies or series, listen to worldly music, hang out in pubs, bars, and such like places, entertain things that do not glorify God in any way… I would rather that people thought me as a weirdo, than be half-hearted and, or, even hypocritical before God’s eyes.
Jesus said, we are in the world, but we are not of the world. We should be different, that means even being counted as a weirdo.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Yes, let people think you’re weird because you stand for righteousness and holiness. Yes, they will gossip you for a while, then they will find somebody else to talk about….But you will have left a witness.
Refuse to compromise your faith in any way. Stand firm in the Lord, and do not let your guard down. If the devil makes the suggestion that it won’t hurt to do it once, shut him down with the word of God.
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
2 Corinthians 6
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
1 Peter 1
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
God help us, God help us all. Because we always forget.
We desire the old things again after the new thing has stopped glittering and has even become monotonous.
Thank You that these things were written for our learning, thank You that You have allowed us to learn from the accounts of others so that we should not step on the same landmines. Lord, because we are forgetful creatures, I pray, that You remind us constantly what grieves the Holy Spirit so that we distance ourselves from it. Lord, if we have been convicted within our hearts for flirting with sin, help us to repent genuinely and turn away from sin.
Help me Lord, to purpose in my heart like Daniel, that I shall not defile myself with the world or the things of this world that are of no benefit to my walk with You, even if I have to be thought as a weirdo.
I make my stand for You and for Holiness. Establish and strengthen my heart in this position.
Help us to remember Lot’s wife, her sin was that she desired to go back, she desired the place of sin than the place of grace. O Lord, help me, help us all as Your children Father. Shake us up and wake us up to the times that we are living in today, because this is not the time to be tolerating sin and evil. Jesus, make us true witnesses and faithful to You always and forever. Amen.
Image Credit: Portrait from Calvary Chapel, Ongata Rongai, Kenya.