Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As we navigate through this world, we feel the dysfunction rise around us, and within us. If you’ve ever asked – what is happening – after listening to the news or scrolling through social media, you are not alone. We have all pondered that question, whether it pertained to our own lives, to those we know, or even to strangers. Too often, we ask the question too late. The impact has already been felt, and we’re now trying to figure out how to get it all back under control.
Climate change is a good example of this concept. For decades, if not centuries, we’ve mistreated the Earth. It’s only due to an increase in natural disasters, severe temperature shifts, and unimaginable damage to our ecosystems, that we then ask – what is happening? Have we contributed to this? Many would say yes, although there are still those who would say no.
The reality about climate change is that it did not happen overnight; it happened with time. Our actions, small and great, brought us to this moment, and while there are those dedicated to fixing the problem, we are still feeling the consequences of our decisions. Our relationship with God is no different in that it is built or taken apart over time. Whenever we choose to ignore the sin in our lives, including those “little sins”, we’re running a big risk. We may find ourselves separated from God during self-imposed tribulations, as we ask ourselves – what is happening? Have I contributed to this?
The Little Sins
This is why it’s important to watch out for “the little sins” – the ones we try to minimize because we’ve decided they aren’t very impactful to our spiritual journeys. We mock God when we try to convince ourselves that we have the right to choose which sins aren’t so bad. If we were being honest with ourselves, we’d instead say that we don’t want to stop doing what bring us sinful pleasure; we’re not interested in exercising self-control. Yet the result of these decisions is quite damaging; our spiritual convictions wane as we place our short-term needs above God’s long-term plans.
Nevertheless, some may be thinking – I don’t rank my sins. I know that God views them all as equal because they all amount to disobedience. I understand your position, but I still would ask that you to take a closer look at how you live your life. Whether we openly say, “this won’t cause me to go to hell” or find ways to justify hurtful behavior, most of us are guilty of indulging in “the little sins”.
The danger in doing this is that eventually the voice of God will soften. He has knocked, but we have not allowed Him to fully enter. We accept Him in some areas and reject Him in others. Eventually, as the space between us and God widens, our connection with Him weakens. Over time, our hearts harden towards Him because it’s impossible to serve two masters. To choose God at our own discretion, is to not choose Him at all.
The Requirements of Personal Growth
For us to experience all that God would have for us, we must allow Him to bring to light the darkest corners of our hearts. If not, we’ll allow sin to make a home in our hearts, sinking its claws into us, beckoning us to become slaves to a heartless master. As we drift further away from God, our strength through Him will weaken. We’ll sink further into the depths of sin, finding ourselves in situations we never intended to experience and places we never thought we would go. We’ll ask – what is happening? – but it’s too late; the consequences are still felt.
It takes genuine reflection and devotion to face our fears, selfishness, and toxic desires. If we’re honest with God about the areas in which we struggle, our experiences with Him will become deeply authentic. It’s in this space, that God does His best work. Through Jesus Christ, we can break away from the sins that hold us captive. We can replace our darkness with His light, but it’s up to us to want that freedom.
Choosing God is our choice.
The devil would have you believe that you don’t need this choice. It’s impossible for you to fail. You know too much to fall into the same traps. Yet, life has a way of humbling us when we let pride get in the way. We are no match for the devil’s antics, but I am thankful that God is. It is by God’s strength that we are given the wisdom and discernment needed to navigate through the toughest of situations, even avoiding some altogether when we heed the warnings God places before us.
If we want to draw close to God, we must address what is causing us to drift away. Even when we feel close to God, it’s still important to remove even the “smallest” of sins in our hearts, so that we don’t start to make new choices that work against our relationship with God. Remember, choosing God is our choice. He lets us make this choice freely – which is the truest reflection of love. So be honest about who you want to serve in this life. If it’s God, then it’s time to let go, and let God have His way in our lives.