"But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'"
? 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NASB)
When you think about the word "sin," what comes to mind? Often, we think of the big stuff, and with good reason. When celebrities, politicians, and even prominent church leaders are caught in scandals it's because they've stolen money, used drugs, or cheated on their spouse. At church, we often focus on avoiding these "big sins" ? adultery, addiction, sexual impurity, and any activity that could land us in jail. And let's be clear, we absolutely should avoid these things. None of these destructive behaviors are consistent with the life God intends for us.
The only problem with focusing on this list is that it allows us to minimize other sins. We think the "little stuff" ? a white lie or a lustful glance, for example ? is OK every now and then, as long as we don't go too far. When we rank sins in order of their seriousness, our little slip-ups don't seem so bad in comparison. Obviously, this is a trap. Why? Because we've based our understanding of sin, character, and integrity on our culture's sliding scale. Rather than pursuing God's standard for our lives as portrayed in Scripture, we compare ourselves to others. We draw arbitrary lines signifying what is "good enough" and then we try to stay on the right side of the line. As the passage above from 1 Peter states, we're called to lead lives that are holy in all we do.
In Ephesians 4:27, Paul the Apostle warns us not to "give the devil an opportunity." As Paul teaches the church at Ephesus about following Christ, his implication is that seemingly minor lapses can be exploited by Satan. Satan desires distraction and destruction in our lives, so it's wise to deny him even the slightest bit of leverage. Seemingly small compromises allow the devil to get his foot in the door of our lives. Therefore, as men and women who want to live fully surrendered to God and His kingdom, let us be wary of the temptation to compromise. When "little stuff" arises, let's slam the door shut.
Primary text(s): 1 Peter 1:1-25