Thursday, November 04, 2010

One thing at a time...

I've been going to a Thursday evening worship service, and one of the things we've been discussing is our sin and the positive and negative consequences directed to both ourselves and others. I also regularly read Jon Acuff's blog, "Stuff Christians Like."

He recently posted the following.

My friend used to deal drugs.

I tell you this, not to add an element of excitement to his testimony, as we are prone to do when we encounter someone who has a really crazy, Jason Bourne like testimony.

I tell you this, because two weeks ago he taught me an important lesson about faith.

We were talking about a famous singer who recently got arrested for having a bag of cocaine on him in a bathroom. The singer told the police that this was the first time he’s ever tried cocaine. When I told my friend that, he said it wasn’t true. He said it was virtually impossible for that to have been his first time. Knowing that my friend didn’t follow this musician or really have any knowledge of him, I asked him why he could be so sure of that.

Here is what he told me:

“No one carries drugs with them the first time they use. No one has the lack of fear it takes to carry a few grams of coke the very first time you try it. No one is alone in a bathroom, carrying a controlled substance the first time they have it. It starts slowly. You’re at a party where it is present. There are a few lines at a friend’s house. Somewhere you bump into it casually. You try it that way long before you decide you’ll be out at a nightclub with a bag of it in your pocket.”

That makes sense to me and more than that, it feels a lot like every other sin in my life.

Nothing I’ve ever done, whether lying or drugs, pornography or gossip, started out with a bag in a bathroom. As I’ve said before, no one wakes up on a Tuesday morning and says, “Today, I’m going to embezzle!” No one says, “At lunch, I’m going to get 10 DUIs and go to jail!” The path to completely destruction never starts out that way.

And neither did the Prodigal Son story. I can’t write about that story enough. It’s the perfect example of small steps to big stupid. In that story, we often like to think that the son got his inheritance from his father and then took a G6 jet straight to hookertown.

But that’s not what Luke 15 says. In fact, this is what we see in Luke 15:13

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Did you see that? The Prodigal Son packed. For days, he packed his bags before he left the father’s side. He took small steps. He made small mistakes and then he left.

So my question to you today, my question to me is pretty simple:

Are you packing?

Right now, today, are you packing your things to leave the safety of the father? Are you getting your things together for a disastrous trip to somewhere you’ve been before, down a path that will leave you wounded and beaten? Is your luggage laid open on your bed and you can’t get things together fast enough?

Are you packing?

If you are, tell a friend. Tell someone who knows you. Did you ever notice that about the Prodigal Son story? He had no friends. Other than the father and the older brother, no one cared that he was gone. His was a friendless existence. He packed alone.

Let’s put the luggage down. Let’s release the baggage. It’s time to stop leaving and instead start living.

Are you packing?

It makes me think about the things I do that I should not. I decide something's okay, just this once, just once more, and just once more--it becomes a habit. I am poking pins into that water balloon. A bunch of pins can create a gash the size of a knife over time.

I am thankful for accountability partners. I am thankful for the time of confession at church. I am also thankful for the assurance of forgiveness.


RuthT said...

YES! Accountability Partners are AWESOME!

What a great insights in this entry of your blog. Thanks

L A DeBose said...

I am so thankful that I am not friendless. My brother Ron tells me "As long as you have a little brother or a best friend, you will always know the truth". Yes, accountability is a good thing. Not always painless, but necessary. I love this!