Reason 3: Enslavement to Sin Makes it Hard to Love Others

Ever meet a person who is passionate about a noble cause? They volunteer, or work with a charity, or reach out to a vulnerable group of people. The Bible tells us to love one another, and it specially emphasizes the moral imperative to meet the needs of the poor. This occurs in both Old and New Testaments.

Yet, some people try to do this as a means of finding freedom from sin.  They mistakenly believe that devoting their lives to serving others will somehow liberate their own.  Not a single person in the Bible supports this line of thinking.  Paul, Peter, David, Joseph, Jacob, Nehemiah, Elisha, Esther, Mark, and even Jesus did not go out to change the world with an uncertain or tentative devotion to God.  They made the choice to give it all to Him.

Loving the world is a good thing. It’s part of what it means to be a Christian. But if you think that by loving others you will escape your own addictions, you will be disappointed. This is how a life of service can turn into a fanatical cause, and the cause becomes more important than the motive behind it. God looks at the heart, at the motives. And we can idolize causes just as easily as wealth, women, drugs, and porn.

The only semi-example I can find in the Bible of someone who serves God without whole-hearted devotion is Solomon, who inherited his faith as much as cultivated it on his own.  And we see the results: a compromised life.

As an aside, much of America is filled with people who have ‘inherited’ their ‘faith’ from their families.  And that’s a good start, but at some point every single person must come to their own personal decision of faith.  You are not born a Christian.  The five-year old kids in Sunday school are not saved, for the most part.  Most of them have not yet made the decision.  And each of them will have to someday.  It cannot be forced.

Maybe that’s part of what has entangled you.  Maybe you’ve never really made the choice to give your whole heart to God.  Maybe you even got baptized, but did so because your friends did it, or because your parents pressured you.  If so, then it isn’t much of a mystery why porn owns so much of your heart.  It’s just one type of drug that happens to be legal in this country.  Some people don’t struggle with porn.  Maybe it’s alcohol, or illegal drugs, or prescription drugs.  Maybe it’s the internet.  Or clubbing.  Doesn’t matter; it all stems from the same place: misplaced loyalty.  Who is your God?  You can’t serve two masters.

Wanting to love others is a good thing.  A great thing.  It’s a Christlike quality that many lack.  But it does not set you free.  It is a reason to want freedom.  You can’t truly love others until you fully know how much God loves you.  And you can’t know God’s love to the fullest until you have experienced its power to set you free from all affliction.  Therefore, as long as you remain shackled to sins and addictions, you will have little to no impact in the lives of others.

The Bible, and the history of the church, are replete with examples of people who made no impact in the world because they were enslaved to their own desires.  We can use the Israelites again as one example.  God wanted them to bring the revelation of His glory to all the nations, not just keep it for themselves.  Not only did they fail to reveal God to other nations, but they joined them in their idolatry.

Numbers 25:1, 2
While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.  For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. (NAS)

God wanted His people Israel to bring His glory to nations like Moab.  But instead, they joined them in worshiping other gods, because those forms of worship apparently involved lots of sexual pleasure with the “daughters of Moab.”  You can see why God hates idolatry so much.  It ties immoral conduct to the worship of other gods.  Back then, it involved real deities; today it’s just the immoral conduct.  But, so what?  In the end, it amounts to the same thing.  Idolatry is just misplaced loyalty or devotion. It’s whatever consumes your heart and desires other than God.

And just as the nation of Israel had no positive, godly influence on the nations around them because of their own enslavement to sin, we Christians will make no significant difference in our nation or in others for the same reason, if we don’t find a way to access liberty through Christ.

Do you want to love others?  Do you want your life to make a difference in the spiritual or natural lives of others?  Do you want it to matter to God?  None of this will happen at the level God desires if you remain enslaved to sins and addictions.