I’ve seen it too many times. Respectful men and women surprise their families, friends, and co-workers with the consequences of their sinful choices. This article is not one of judgement, but rather, one of warning. Think of this post like a lab in biology, as we dissect the human free fall that happens when we sin. Everyone is capable of falling because we’re all sinners who’ve already fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we identify the path to falling, maybe we can turn it around before we get ourselves into too much trouble. Today, I want to take a brief look at one of the worst mistakes made by one of the greatest leaders in the Bible, David. He is described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), he killed a giant (1 Samuel 17), wrote many psalms, won many battles, and became the greatest king in Israel’s history. This article is not about the specific nature of his sin, but the process he took to get there. Whatever your trap may be, watch for the path below.
Step #1 – Slack on Offense
David was at home when it was a time that kings were suppose to be in battle (2 Samuel 11:1). How many times do we start to fall into sin because we place ourselves in the wrong situations. Paul writes in Galatians 5:16, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The easiest way to open yourself up to sin is to stop pursuing God. The best way to get over a sinful habit is to start pursing God with all that you are. Sin does not look quite as tempting when you’re experiencing something genuinely better. If you have two plants, the one that will grow bigger is the one that gets more sun and water. Choose to water your relationship with God instead of sinful desires.
Step #2 – Relax on Defense
David was strolling on the roof to escape the heat of the evening when he saw a beautiful woman bathing on the roof. Instead of turning away, he sent his servants to find out more information about her (2 Samuel 11:2-3). When a plane starts to go down, a pilot is instructed to use the ejection seat to save himself, not get a closer look at the ground first. If you struggle with alcohol, don’t surround yourself with people who drink. If you are struggling with purity in a dating relationship, don’t place yourself alone with that person late at night. Guardrails are placed on roads before the hazards, not in them. If David had a few more guardrails up in his life, he might not have fallen as deep as he did.
Step #3 – Fixate on Temptation
Whatever you do, do not think of a purple elephant. Nope. Do not think of a purple elephant. You can think about anything else, expect a purple elephant… so what are you picturing right now? Why is it when we want something, we tend to play that same song on repeat in our minds? David fixated on Bathsheba. Don’t fixate on your sins. Choose better thoughts of God. Change your thoughts, and you can change your world. Try playing a different movie in your head than the potential sin you’re obsessing over. If I’m trying to eat healthy, staring at a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies is not going to help. Simply saying to myself, don’t sin don’t sin don’t sin don’t sin is not an effective strategy. So next time you’re tempted to drink, cheat, steal, covet, lie, become greedy, or remain prideful, choose to think on better things. Think of honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent things (Philippians 4:8). Fixate on God’s promises.
Step #4 – Rationalize Temptation
Informercials are based on this step. How many times have you truly needed Hip Hop Abs, a new wave oven, or a knife that can cut through a boot? We rationalize everything. I once rationalized that it was okay to eat an entire batch of those chocolate chip cookies in one setting because I figured I was going to eat them anyway, might as well get it out of the way so I can eat healthy later! Stop rationalizing sin. It’s not okay.
Step #5 – Attempt to Gratify Desire
I emphasize “attempt” because anything apart from God will only leave you empty and wanting more. David slept with Bathsheba. She became pregnant and he tried to play it off like the baby would belong to Uriah, her husband. When Uriah wouldn’t sleep with Bathsheba because he knew he was suppose to be in battle with his fellow soldiers, David had Uriah killed as part of his cover up. One sin snowballed into many, and the path to falling became complete.
How To Get Back Up When We Fall
David experienced many consequences because of his sin. The child to Bathsheba died, David’s kingdom never reached great heights again, and his household faced many troubles in the years to come. However, David ultimately repented of his sin when confronted by the prophet Nathan, he married Bathsheba, and their later child (Solomon) would be included in the lineage that lead up to the birth of Jesus. While the consequences were great, God continued to work in and through David’s life. Your life does not need to be defined by your worst moment. How can we respond when we sin? How can we get back up when we fall. Here are 4 simple-but-not-easy steps to take:
- Be honest and humble.
- Confess specifically.
- Restore where possible.
- Live grateful for God’s grace and forgiveness.
I pray that this post was helpful, and I hope that by recognizing what we do when we sin, we can choose the better path to God beforehand. And remember, while we were at our worst, God was at His best and He loves us even in our mistakes (Romans 5:8).
High School Pastor
North Ridge Community Church