Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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You Can't Get Away with It

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy DeMoss: When the Romero family first got Sally as a family pet, she was only one foot long. But eight years later, this pet had grown to eleven-and-one-half feet and weighed eighty pounds.

Leslie: What can an eighty-pound animal show you about your daily choices? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will explain.

It’s Revive Our Hearts for Monday, April 1. Nancy’s beginning a series called “Lies Women Believe About Sin.” She continues telling us about the family pet that grew to over eleven feet.

Nancy: On July 20, 1993, Sally, who was a Burmese python, attacked fifteen-year-old Derek, strangling the teenager until he suffocated to death.

In one fatal moment, the creature that had seemed so harmless was exposed as a deadly beast. This unsuspecting family had brought what they thought was a nice little pet into their home. And all of a sudden, it turned on them. It proved to be a destroyer.

And really, in a sense, no one should have been surprised at how that story turned out because, in the end, the python merely did what it was its nature to do.

We're talking this week about lies that we believe about sin. Sin has a way of being able to entertain us. We can play with it. Sometimes we sleep with it. We amuse ourselves with it. But the fact is, its nature never changes. Inevitably sin, like that python, rises up to bite and to devour those who have befriended it.

Now all of Satan's lies are destructive, but I think the most deadly lies Satan tells us are the ones about God and about sin. You see, Satan works to diminish the God-likeness of God and to diminish the sinfulness of sin. He wants us to think that God is not quite as godly as He really is and that sin is not quite as evil as it really is.

You've perhaps seen some digitally-enhanced photographs, even if you didn't know you were seeing them. I don't understand how this works, but computers have a way to take a hideous picture and with digital, electronic enhancements, they can turn it actually into something very beautiful.

That to me is a picture of what Satan does with this matter of sin. Sin is hideous. It's deformed. But Satan has a way of enhancing it to make it look like it's something really attractive. But we need to constantly remind ourselves that dressing up sin cannot change its essential nature. Like that deadly snake, the true deadly nature of sin will one day, inevitably, invariably be exposed in our lives.

The first use of the word sin in the Bible occurs in Genesis chapter 4, where God is speaking to Cain. He describes sin as a crouching animal that is waiting to pounce on its victim. That's a word picture we need to keep in mind when we think of sin.

Now Satan tells us a number of lies about sin. I think one of the most frequent lies he tells is the one we're going to look at today and over the next couple of days.

Satan tells us you can sin and get away with it. We go back to the very first sin. God had said to Adam and Eve, "Don't eat from the fruit of that tree. In the day that you do . . ." what will happen? God said the consequence will be what? You will die. He said, "You will surely die." (see Gen. 2:17)

Satan comes along, the serpent comes along, and he says to Eve, "You will not die." He challenges God. He says that the consequences that God threatened if you eat of this tree, they're not true. You can sin and get away with it. You can have it your way and not reap the consequences.

You see Satan says to us, "You can have it your way, you can do your thing, you can sign your declaration of independence against God . . .and you can get away with it." So he causes us to believe there will be no judgment on my sin. I won't reap what I sow. The choices I make today will not have consequences.

When we sin, it's usually because we think we can get away with it or we don't stop to count the cost. We don't stop to realize what's going to happen to that deadly snake as I nurture it and befriend it and play with it and let it into my home thinking it's so harmless and docile, not realizing that one day that python is going to grow up into a deadly, destructive force not only in my life, but in the lives of those that I love.

When Eve took the first bite of that fruit, I really believe she did not stop to think about the consequences—the consequences in her own life, the consequences in her marriage, the consequences in her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren and her great-great-grandchildren and in women and men and marriage and culture and history and all of life forever. She didn't stop to think, to count the cost.

I think Eve is a lot like us in the sense that she didn't make a quick enough connection between her choice and the consequences that would be inevitable. God had warned her. There will be consequences. In the day that you eat, something will happen to cut you off from life. You will die. You will be separated from life in God, from spiritual life. Ultimately, physical life will come to an end. You will die physically, spiritually, emotionally, morally in every area of your life when you make the choice to disobey God.

I talk to so many women today who are living with difficult and stressful and painful life situations, some of which are beyond their control. Some of them are just experiencing the suffering for righteousness sake, sometimes living in a marriage to a nonbeliever who persecutes them for their faith. There are some painful circumstances in life that have nothing to do with our own sin directly. But so many of the circumstances in our lives are ones that are, more or less, of our own making, and we don't make the connection, so often, between our choices and the consequences.

So I talk with women who are in miserable marriages, one of the things I want to ask is, "When you got married, did you have your parents’ blessing? Or did you marry out of rebellion against your parents' authority?"

You see, when that young person thought they were so in love, and they just had to have this person, and they couldn't live without this person, God gave them parents for counsel and for protection. But in many cases, they just rejected that counsel and would not listen. And now twenty, thirty, forty years later, they're living with the consequences of an ungodly choice—of a choice that could not be fully blessed by God without repentance because they violated the Word of God.

I think of women who have dated and then ultimately married a nonbeliever. This is contrary to the Word of God.

I find women in some cases, maybe a single mom who's trying to raise four kids on her own. Now there can be a lot of different reasons that this happened. My own mother was widowed at the age of forty with seven children ages eight to twenty-one.

Where those circumstances are beyond our own control, there's the grace of God that gives all that you need in those circumstances. But I find for some moms who are dealing with these very difficult issues as a single mom, it's the fruit of some wrong choices. Maybe it's a woman who lived a sexually-promiscuous life, had children out of wedlock perhaps, and now finds herself in that tough position having to meet the role for those children that God intended for a husband to meet.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that every difficult marriage or every stressful family situation is the result of immorality or disobedience. But in many cases, that is so.

I find people who are "head over heels" in debt. They're struggling. They're trying to deal with the symptoms of that issue without going back to some of the roots that may have caused that issue. For example, some made unwise spending choices. In some cases, they had temporal values. Now they're living with consequences of their choices.

There are women today who are not able to have children. Now sometimes God just closes the womb, and that's His perfect will, and then there's grace to receive that infertility. But in some cases, the infertility in women today is rooted in immoral, sexual choices—in abortions.

We're so prone to want to deal with and counsel and provide therapy and solutions for the consequences without realizing that in order to deal with the consequences, we've got to go back and see what were the roots. There are connections between our choices and the lives that we end up having.

The enemy says to us, "You can sin and get away with it." Is there some issue of your life that you have been, perhaps, believing that lie, thinking, I can make these choices. I can be undisciplined in this area of my life, and I can get away with it? Maybe you're not even consciously thinking, I can get away with it.

But maybe you're not stopping to count the cost, to think about the consequences. As you reflect on some of the issues that you face in your life today, is it possible that you're reaping the consequences, the harvest of seeds that were planted years ago?

Listen, the answer to dealing with that negative harvest is not just to keep trying to cut it down. It just keeps growing back. The answer is to go back and say, "What were the seeds that I planted that were not godly seeds?" and then to repent of those choices.

Now, that doesn't mean that all the consequences will go away. Those consequences may remain as reminders of the costliness of sin. But there will be and there is grace through repentance if we'll go back and identify what are those choices and say, "Lord, forgive me. I realize that I have not gotten away with my sin. I realize that the choices I am making today are ones that will have consequences for years to come."

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been inviting you to think about the sobering consequences of sin. She’ll be right back with the second half of today’s program.

If you recognize that you’re living with some consequences of sinful choices and you want to live differently, I hope you’ll read more about today’s topic in Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Your donation will help us continue providing programs like this.

Ask for Lies Women Believe when you call 1-800-569-5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now Nancy continues to address the lie: “I can sin and get away with it.”

Nancy: Think how that works out in practical areas in everyday life. For example, and here's one that I can relate to a lot myself: We're stuffed at the end of a great Sunday lunch meal, but that second piece of lemon cake just looks so good, we have to have it. We have no more room left for it, but we're going to eat it anyway. And what happens? I eat that piece of cake, but I'm not stopping to consider what may be the consequences. For example, in a few hours, I will probably feel bloated and sick to my stomach. That's a consequence.

I may not stop when I'm contemplating that piece of cake to consider that overeating can lead to things like heartburn, diabetes, stroke, or heart failure. When I see that cake, I'm not seeing heart failure; I'm not seeing diabetes. I'm just seeing a really great looking piece of cake.

Maybe I'm not stopping to think about this: That lack of restraint in one area of my life makes me more vulnerable to lack of discipline in other areas of my life that may be even more major.

Perhaps we're not stopping to think that the indulgence that we excuse in moderation—I mean, what's the big deal about a second piece of cake when you're already full? But that moderate indulgence may well produce in our children a harvest of extreme indulgence. So I see parents whose children are abusing their bodies with drugs or with illicit sex, and the parents are thinking, "I never lived that way. I didn't make those kinds of choices."

Well, maybe we did make those kinds of choices. They weren't as obvious, they weren't as extreme, but we're reaping a harvest. Now why, when that piece of lemon cake is sitting in front of me, don't I stop to think about the consequences? What I'm really thinking is, Yes, I'm stuffed, but that piece looks so good, and I can do it. I can handle it. I can get away with it.

And it happens in so many areas of our lives. I think about the way we entertain ourselves with reading material and movies and television programs and videos and music that reflect worldly values, sensual values, worldly philosophies—entertainment that legitimizes profanity and immodesty and immoral behavior.

We bring this stuff into our homes and think, It's not all that serious. I can get away with it. This isn't really affecting me. We don't stop to think about what are going to be some of the inevitable consequences. For example, in watching this thing, maybe even just a limited diet of it, a consequence is that I am desensitizing my conscience and developing a tolerance for sin.

I found this out in my own life several years ago where I had been just using the television for noise, for companionship. I live alone, have for many years. I would come home from work at the end of the day just exhausted and plop down on the sofa and turn on the television. But I’d find myself watching things that I didn't consider too bad, and yet I woke up one day and realized some of what I was bringing into my home and into my heart and into my mind. I realized I had lost my sensitivity toward what was holy and pure and good and of value.

Another thing I found during that period of time is that by allowing these things, even in moderation, I was increasing my appetite for sin and finding stronger urges of my flesh in other areas. I thought, I can't control this. What was I doing? I was fueling my flesh with that kind of entertainment, and I was diminishing the hunger for holiness. I didn't have the same kind of longing to know God and to study His Word and to be holy that I had at earlier times.

Maybe in relation to entertainment, we don't stop to think about this consequence: In allowing that which is unholy to come into our hearts, we're really erecting a barrier in our fellowship with God. And then one day, we wake up and we say, “Where's God? He feels so far away. I don't feel connected to God anymore. I can't sense His presence in my life.” What happened? One brick at a time, one choice at a time, I built a wall in my relationship with the Lord.

As it relates to that entertainment, we perhaps don't stop to think that we're programming our minds to think the world's way. The way we think will ultimately determine the way that we live. We don't perhaps stop to think that we're increasing the likelihood that we will actually begin to act out the things that we are seeing and hearing. And we'll start to think, Well, it can't be so wrong to leave my husband, to lose my temper, to speak roughly or rudely to my mother when she calls at an inconvenient time.” W start to justify behavior based on what we've seen enacted out before us perhaps on the screen.

We make a choice, perhaps to hold a grudge against someone who's wronged us. I found myself over and over again having somebody say something that hurts me and then just nursing the hurt, but I mull it in my mind over and over and over again. I begin to defend myself—mentally—and thinking of ways that I could find to defend myself to the person who, perhaps, criticized me.

Don't go there. When I let my mind go there, then I'm not stopping to think about the consequences. If I let bitterness take root in my life, sooner or later I'm going to destroy my capacity to think rationally.

David says in Psalm 73, "When I nursed bitterness in my heart, I became like a brute beast before God."

That's what happens. When I nurse bitterness, I get to where I am just totally irrational—not thinking straight. I don't stop to think that by nursing that wound that it's going to make me miserable. I don't think of how bitterness affects my body in ways like chronic tiredness, loss of energy. I mean, bitterness will just sap the life and the strength out of us.

Maybe I'm not stopping to think that by nursing this grudge, by holding on to this bitterness, that I'm not going to be able, according to Jesus, to experience the fullness of God's love and His forgiveness in my life. Perhaps I'm not stopping to think that bitterness is going to make me hard to live with, and it's going to cause people not to want to be my friend.

We can look at every area of sin. For example, the matter of getting too close, allowing ourselves to get too close to a kind, thoughtful, sensitive man at work. Now perhaps we ought to stop and ask, "Why, if he's so kind and thoughtful and sensitive, is he on his third marriage?" We don't stop to think what he may be like in another setting. We think he's meeting our needs.

Or somebody we met in a chat room or somebody that we meet at church who's a godly counselor, but we're letting ourselves get our emotions fueled in ways that are not legitimate. We're not stopping to think about the long-term consequences in our lives, in our homes, in our relationships with our friends, in the next generation and on and on.

The writer of Proverbs was very concerned to warn his son about the consequences of sin. And what he was really wanting to do, as a dad, was to protect his son, to spare him from a life of regret. That's what you want for your children, isn't it? You try to help your children see consequences for their behavior because you don't want them to get into a position in life where they're living with results that may be irreversible.

So the writer of Proverbs exhorts his son in chapter 5 to avoid every single form of sin as he would the plague and to make right choices now. Here's what he said in Proverbs chapter 5 beginning in verse 11:

At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and your body are spent. You will say, "How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. [I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.]" (vv. 11–14 NIV)

So what's this dad saying? "Think now about what you will be experiencing at the end of your life if you do not make godly, holy choices now."

We have to keep reminding ourselves that Satan is a liar. The things that God calls sin, Satan tells us are fun or safe, innocent, no big deal, just getting your needs met. The truth is that sin is dangerous; it is deadly, and it is destructive. The truth is that every choice I make today will have consequences. What I do with my time, what I do with my tongue, what I do with my natural temperament, with my emotions, every choice I make today will have consequences.

And the truth according to James chapter 1 is that sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to a baby. And what is the name of that baby? Death. If I let sin grow up in my heart, it will give birth to deadly consequences.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been warning us that every sin leads to consequences. That message is part of a series called, “Lies Women Believe About Sin.”

You can read more in depth about the topic when you get a copy of Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. She addresses commonly held lies about sin, about relationships, about God and ourselves.

One listener wrote to us after reading this book and said, “I was changed by it in a way that will have a major impact on my children and my husband for the rest of our lives.”

We’ll send you Lies Women Believe as our way of saying “thanks” when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Ask for it when you call 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, sin does provide a certain level of temporary pleasure. Tomorrow’s program shows you how to look at the price tag of that pleasure. Nancy talks about lies women believe about sin. Now she’s back to close today’s program.

Nancy: What if I told you that instead of being miserable and frustrated and living in constant bondage that you could life a life described with these words: joyous, contented, loving, radiant, confident, gracious, peaceful, stable? What if you knew that you really could walk in freedom? The fact is, life is hard. But according to the Word of God, you and I can walk through the realities of everyday life—I’m talking about disappointment, loneliness, loss, rejection, wounds, even death. You can walk through those realities in freedom.

I remember some years ago, at the end of a weekend conference a lady walked up to me. I was just getting ready to leave to head out to the airport, and she caught me in the hallway. She said, “I’m free! I’m free!” She started to tell me what God had done in her life through the course of that weekend.

She had been to see counselors and therapists. She had been to conferences and seminars. She had heard speakers much more gifted than I. She had paid money to try and deal with some of the issues of her past. But that weekend, God said something to her from His Word that set her free.

You see, the life that Jesus promises and the freedom that He offers us are not found through a change in our circumstances, but they’re found in the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Truth, and it’s the Truth that will set you free.”

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.