Most Christians are relieved to know they are not included in Paul's list of damning offenses: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Many sincere believers make every effort not to turn His grace into license and yet they realize their walk doesn’t measure up to His holy standard.
As they read the next verse, they feel the piercing arrow of truth: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (verse 11). Suddenly, they remember a besetting lust they have never been able to shake. They think, “Wait a minute—I’ve been delivered and sanctified. So why can’t I quit this habit? I’m not truly free!”
Maybe you have returned to an old lust recently. Perhaps you have visited a pornography site on the Internet or become involved in adultery or homosexual sin. Or perhaps you have stolen goods from your employer, or you are sneaking a drink on the way home from work. Whatever your habit is, you know you are not free in that one area.
Do not be surprised if you start to feel the way David did. “I remembered God, and was troubled . . . my spirit was overwhelmed” (Psalm 77:3).
Whenever the Lord sees one of His children wrestling with some lust or bondage, He moves in quickly to bring us back to a path of obedience, peace and rest. How does He do this? He brings about conditions in our lives that force us to face our sin!
Often this means taking us down into the depths, as God did with Jonah. He allows us to feel His rebuke and to be swallowed up by our circumstances. Yet it was while in the darkest depths that Jonah cried out to God. And the Lord responded to His servant’s cries quickly, restoring to him His blessings and will!