Count the Cost

I recently wrote a note about the power of sin, and how we can be freed from it. I am not into scare tactics, but rather wisdom. I am going to tell you what my sin has cost me. Learn from my mistakes, turn from your sin and don’t walk the road I have drug myself along.

Where to begin with the cost of my sin, for the cost has been great. To those who have been deceived that sin is something great and has benefits, you’re right and wrong. Sure, sometimes sin may have those immediate pleasures and results, but just beyond what you can see lies the mud-hole you’re about to fall into. I know because I fell into that same hole myself.

I began walking the road of great sin in my life with my introduction to pornography by one of my best friends in Junior High a couple years after I came back to the States. I knew nothing of the Pandora’s box that I had opened. I began to slowly enter in to a spiral of destruction of myself spiritually.

When I was in Junior High I was already beginning to question my faith and doubting my salvation. Every night I would pray to the God that I hoped existed that I would be saved from the fiery hell that was being burned into my mind by Satan. He had me so scared that I was going to go to hell. Growing up in the church I knew very well what that was, and I knew what I was doing was wrong. Yet, my desires for the pleasures of sin were too strong for me to overcome anything. By God’s grace He proved Himself constantly faithful to me even then even when I was floundering in sin. Every question I asked of Him, He proved Himself God. There was no denying that for me, but yet I still wanted pornography and sexual sin more than I did God.

I came to the point where I recognized I was backsliding, or going downhill, and I just didn’t care. I acknowledged it and kept sinning. I kept doing the church thing through high school, and put on a very good front. I even went on a missions trip. I wanted to follow God through all of this deep down because I knew that was what I was supposed to do and called to do by Him, but I still wanted what I wanted more than that. It wasn’t until my senior year of high-school that I decided to truly follow God and turn my back on the sin that I had become addicted to. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance to overcome the addiction that I had given myself to, but God rescued me from pornography. Even still, sexual sin still had a powerful hold on my life. I had killed only one head of a monstrous beast. I hadn’t killed the heart of the beast yet. Until I did, that beast was always going to come roaring back to haunt me.

I waged battle through my time here. At times, I wondered if I could ever defeat what had me so trapped. I wanted desperately to be freed. The cost of my sin was becoming much more real to me here. It was effecting the way I saw girls and my relationships with them, not to mention the lasting effects from pornography that I could not get out of my head. My view of beauty was skewed. My view of marriage was skewed too, because I wanted a really ‘beautiful’ wife so that I didn’t have to worry about lust. My sin hadn’t effected many of my relationships at this point, because I had kept it well hidden. Most do not know the extent of what I was dealing with in my own personal struggles, because I was really good about hiding it. Afterall, I had hidden this sin from even my parents for the most part since Junior high. Little did I know how true the Scripture is that talks about what is the darkness will be brought into light, and the hidden will be revealed and sins shouted on the rooftops. I was too blinded by my sin to see the cost that would soon become too real for me.

I had met someone, and God blessed us with the greatest relationship I’ve ever been a part of. It was something I never expected. I’ve never experienced blessing like I have with this in my life. Despite what I was still stuck in, He still showed me His extravagant love through this relationship. I had never known how much I could have been blessed by someone. At times, it was surreal because I never knew parts of myself that could be blessed in the ways that I was. At the same time I was crying out on the inside. I wanted desperately to be freed from my sin. I grasped somewhat of the blessing that I had, and it killed me that I was sinning against the One that was giving it to me. I began to wonder when I would see the effects of my sin in a real way, because I wasn’t other than the deep turmoil within my soul. That deep turmoil wasn’t enough. I still didn’t change, even though I really wanted to. There was still a part of me that still wanted to hold on to my sin even when I had the best things I could ever ask for. In fact, I hadn’t asked for it and I was given something better than I could have imagined, yet I trampled on it still.

That’s what sin does friends. God gives us the best, but in our sin we trample on it. Sometimes we don’t know the ramifications, and maybe we never will here on earth. But when it comes to sexual sin especially, your sin will be shouted on the rooftops when you are in any kind of relationship. It is shouted in your mind as you battle to keep yourself pure on the outside, and when you see the pain it brings the one you love when they find out your lust and sin it becomes too real for you to imagine. You are the one bringing them the real pain of making them feel so incredibly insignificant because you think someone is more beautiful than she is because of your lust.

It could be the last thing you would have wanted or intended, but that doesn’t change how your sin affects them. The sin doesn’t just cost you, it costs them just as much if not more. The emotional destruction of insignificance is insurmountable. It’s the same idea telling a guy he can never be good enough – good enough in sports, physically, smart enough, caring enough, loving enough, and can’t provide. He feels like he can’t do anything to fix that while you want more. He is who he is. In the same way women feel this way. If they can’t measure up to another girl like that and can’t change it, you can’t change her mind about that no matter how much you love her. She still feels the same way and you have made a deep wound that takes only a Savior to heal with a lot of time.

Why do you think most marriages break up? It is because of sexual sin, especially with our generation anything sexual is easily accessible. It is going after something we were never meant to have. Men become especially addicted to the physical aspect only of a relationship, while most girls become addicted to the messed up relational aspect of it. Some girls even tend to become more like a man in our culture being taught to lust like a man does. What is natural has become extremely broken, leaving a lot of baggage to come into the next relationship. If that baggage isn’t fixed, and if their messed up presuppositions about love and relationships aren’t changed…then relationships are going to be extremely rocky at best. A guy will want pleasure that the woman cannot give because she is not receiving the emotional needs from a guy that just wants sex. A downward spiral ensues. A pastor is addicted to pornography and loves it more than he does his wife and God. He is a slave to it. Men sleep around committing adultery. We’re about to crash.

I crashed, I lost the best thing that happened to me because of my sin. I lost the one that I cared about most because I wanted sin more than what God had given to me. It took losing everything to make me realize the real cost of my sin. I wondered when I was going to see the fruits of my sin, and it was in front of me the whole time. It was in the relationship what was about to drown because of my sin swamping over the decks of the one I cared about. I lost everything, what I cared about was broken beyond anything I could do, and I had to stop before losing what was left of me. I had a warning from God – stop or face the consequences. I had faced enough pain as a result of my sin, and I finally stopped completely from that day forth.

Since then Satan has used it as a tool to accuse me. The cost doesn’t just stop with stopping your sin. For years you have given Satan the tools to accuse you. I faced that cost too, with deep regret and pain. I was the one that had chosen my sin and had led our relationship to this point. That weight was on my shoulders, and I had Satan badgering me because of that too. If you don’t know how to overcome the accusations of Satan, the burdens of your past sin have the weight of a black hole and will suck you in relentlessly.

Praise be to God for His Son who is an advocate for me before my Father! When Satan stands before me accusing me, in tears I shall cry out to my Father. He has paid my debts and forgiven the sin that I committed. I no longer stand condemned before Him. I am His child, and He loves me. I no longer love sin, but rather Him as my Father. He offered me redemption and healing, and He has supplied that abundantly. He used what would have killed me to teach me the most about Him and His love. He redeemed me from my sin more than I ever could have imagined, teaching me so much.

At what cost have I learned this though? It cost me not only the many issues that I have had to heal from with His help, but also a relationship that is broken beyond any repair apart from Him. What is it going to cost you to turn from your sin? Is it going to cost you someone you love? Is it going to cost you your job? Your family? Your friends? Everything on earth that you have? Your relationship with God is already on the border as you willfully continue in sin, and that is the foundation for your salvation. Are you willing to throw away eternal life for something that only satisfies you in the moment?

Praises be to God that He offers redemption! Turn from your sin, and He will mend you as He has me. It has been extremely painful as He has surrounded me in His refining fires. It has been painful beyond belief, but at the same time as He does a lot of the time He works in paradoxes. I have been blessed beyond belief because I have chosen to follow Him rather than my sin. Since staying pure and clean are impossible to do on my own, it has taught me complete dependence, reliance, and trust in Him. I cannot stay free from the bonds of sin without being totally dependent on Christ. If I’m not, surely the bonds will ensnare me once again if I turn my eyes away from Him.

Again, praise be to Him that keeps my eyes fixed on His Son! He has given me hope through His Son that can never be taken away. Why should I turn to sin that only points to hopelessness and death? I can fix my eyes on the One that provides me all hope and freedom. This is the new cycle of freedom and hope in Christ. Lay hold of it, cling to it with all you have. Satan will try to pry it from your fingers, and trick you into letting it go if he can’t pry it. Keep your eyes on Christ and do not be deceived by Satan. Keep following the One that loves you, no matter the cost.

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