Proverbs 30:16 ~ "...and the fire that never says, 'Enough.'"
Three things prevent a fire from spreading--a natural barrier, the lack of fuel, or an attack against it by those who know how to douse the flames. A wildfire will continue unabated unless something or someone comes against its progress. It will never, of its own accord, finally say "enough."
And so it is with sin.
The very condition of mankind is overwrought with an unyielding appetite for sin. Even the introduction of God's law did not curb the appetite. Paul, himself, stated as much in Romans 7:8, "But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead."
How many people do you know, who are aware that their habits are harmful and their sins destructive, still participate in them with regularity? For an example... we know that smoking causes all manner of physical problems--and yet the tobacco industry is made rich in the habits of those who are addicted. Just knowing that it's bad for their health does not seem to be a restraint on their behavior.
Paul would say in Romans 7:19, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." Here is a born-again man of God, an apostle of Christ and servant of the church who is not free from the unwanted fires of the sinful nature in his life. And those three major conflagrations of sin--the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16)--will never yield its burning rampage across our souls of its own volition.
The burning fire of sin must be extinguished. And let us use the three measures presented at the beginning of this reading to overcome the flames.
First, go to the One who has conquered sin--the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are burning with sin, He alone has the power to extinguish it. Flee to Christ, run to Him in prayer and call upon Him in your desperate hour, confessing your sins, for He will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:9). Consider what John the Baptist said of Jesus in John 1:29, "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" Jesus, alone, has the authority and the power to forgive and vanquish sin.
Second, remove the fuel source and prevent your sinful nature from having access to greater opportunities to entice you. A great image is found in the removal of filthy garments and donning clean attire. Ephesians 4:20-24 reads, "But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." You must put them away--far away--so that the sinful nature is starved out and the righteous life of Christ is fed and growing in greater holiness.
Finally, dwell near those natural barriers that God provides for the sanctification of your soul. The primary one in this world is the fellowship of a solid, biblical church. Many have discovered a great weapon against sin merely by being near those who are also walking with Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." And Romans 1:12 reads, "...that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." 1 John 1:7 tells us, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together in Christ (see Hebrews 10:25) for in that gathering is found mutual encouragement and strength to overcome sin.
Remember, beloved, the sinful nature does not want to do anything other than consume your life like a fire consumes a forest. If you love Christ and His righteousness, I implore you, do not submit to the cravings of sin.
In His Grace,
From the Mountains to the Sea
Every step we take on this journey called life ought to be used for greater understanding. I've lived from the mountains to the sea, and this blog is my personal thoughts and observations with a desire for Biblical understanding. Welcome.