What a day! You just took delivery of a new sports car. It will do 0-to-60 mph in just over two seconds and has a top speed of 267 mph. It’s called the world’s fasted production car. It’s beautiful. And expensive.
Wanting to show it off, you invite some of your favorite people to take a ride. We’ll have to pretend this car will hold a bunch of people because you’re going to take your best friends, your family, a much-loved teacher, boss, and your pastor.
Everyone piles in, and off you go. You start out nice and slow, getting used to the steering, the clutch, and the gears—until you reach the outskirts of town. Then, on a wide-open, straight road, you open it up, saying, “Let’s see how fast this thing will go!” Everyone is giggling, even shrieking a little. Like riders on a roller-coaster, they’re thrilled as you race past 100 mph and head for 150.
Then the straight road makes a slight bend, and another road angles off to the left. You have no time to decide, so left it is. You just make it, skidding a little, but the car handles great, and you don’t even let up on the accelerator. More shrieks come from your passengers, a few gasps, less giggling.
As the miles zip past, the road begins to climb. The car responds. Even on the hill, you’re going almost 175.
Signs begin to flash by: CAUTION! SLOW DOWN! CAUTION! CAUTION! But your foot still jambs the gas pedal to the floor. The next sign says STOP! You blast past that one, too.
The view at the crest of the hill hits you like a punch in the stomach. Directly in front of you, a dozen tourists stand along a railing. They’re gazing into the depths of the Grand Canyon! Taking selfies. But you still don’t slow down. Now the people in your car are screaming in terror. It’s too late. You crash right through the tourists, a bunch of people you don’t even know. Everyone tumbles into the canyon. It’s a big wreck!
Romans 3: 23: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 6: 23: For the wages [consequences]of sin is death…
Starting with buying the wrong car, choosing to drive too fast, taking the wrong road, ignoring the warning signs, who gets hurt by your bad choices? Everyone, including you. And don’t forget, the outrageously expensive car ends up mangled at the bottom of the canyon, too.
This is a far-fetched story to show you how sin happens, and the way it affects you and everyone around you. One bad choice follows another bad choice until, sure enough, you find yourself hurting God, yourself, and lots of people around you: people you love, people you care about, people you don’t even know. When you continue to accelerate (your thoughts, your words, your actions) with no braking, no stopping, everyone suffers the consequences of your bad choices.
Proverbs 10: 16 says: The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.
As you saw above, Romans 6: 23 starts with bad news: For the wages of sin is death.
But it ends with good news: but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It’s all about Jesus! Believe, repent, receive Jesus (the best Gift of all) as your personal Lord and Savior. Then He expects the best from you. And He wants the best for you and for those you encounter.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for bad decisions that have led to pain for myself and others. Help me make better choices, to consider what You would have me do or say BEFORE I do or say anything. Even when I’ve already chosen the wrong thing—started out too fast, made wrong turns, ignored Your convictions to slow down or stop—help me hit the brakes, skid to a stop right in the middle of a sentence or in the middle of doing something I suddenly realize will displease You. Thank you for Your help through the power of the Helper, the Holy Spirit. I pray and thank you In the Name of Jesus. Amen
Truth: Following Jesus with your whole heart, soul, strength, and mind, and allowing the full influence of the Holy Spirit to control your thoughts and actions will lead to a life that slows down or stops in obedience as soon as convictions strike, to a life of joy and peace, and eternal life with God.
Photo by Chuck Middlekauff