Sin is wrong and unholy. We all know that (I hope). Even the Arabian Nights stories remind us of this truth with the name of the hero, SINBAD.
Yet, there are times in the past, moments of sin, upon which we look back with a certain nostalgia and go, "Yeah, those were the days. They were fun. They were pleasurable.” We sigh as we drift off in sweet reminiscence. And then, snapping back to the reality of our salvation, we go, “But... but... I don't live that life anymore! I belong to God now." We give a big smile to hide our feelings.
Perhaps the above isn’t quite descriptive of your experience. I mean, you may not be the type to give big smiles. However, may I suggest that, even though we may have turned away from our old lifestyles and repented, some of us had already built monuments on some of those moments. Monuments of remembrance. Monuments with inscriptions on their plaques saying, ‘This was a time I enjoyed and never want to forget.’
We still remember fondly - sometimes even desire - the same pleasure or fun we experienced in those moments. We know they were wrong and try our level best to distance ourselves from those memories, but we subconsciously hold on. There's a barely noticeable tie that somehow still binds us to them.
That one-night-stand with that girl who was so friendly and nice it all seemed almost pure; the cool, nicotine-filled air that traversed your windpipe when work stress was driving you nuts; the catharsis as you rained blow after blow on the poor fella who insulted your family - or your fantasies about any of the above.
Why do we do this? Aren’t we new creatures? Haven’t we overcome the power of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit?
Simply put, these ancient monuments of sin are strong. In some cases, even untouchable. And the longer we leave these monuments standing, the more deeply they establish themselves in our souls and, at the same time, the less aware we are of them.
Outwardly, we might think we cherish those times so that we can tell of our wondrous transformation upon encountering God. But deep inside we do not see (or want to see) them for what they are - moments during which we willfully violated God's holy design - because they are still that tiny bit precious to us.
Know that once you peel off the sweet and memorable layers of each memory, you will see their core, their nature - and they are inherently dark. Don't let their beautiful exterior persuade you to ignore or enjoy them.
These monuments of sin must be torn down. The ties you may not even realise have been there for decades must be severed.
I encourage you to take some time during this season of horrid isolation to deal with them. Here are some handles:
- Go back down the tunnels of your memory and identify those monuments. To tear them down, you need to know where they are. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. You may choose to name each moment; be as specific as you can.
- Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Speak to the monuments and declare them broken in Jesus’ name.
- Repeat this daily or as often as the Spirit prompts you. It's a process so it will likely take multiple 'sessions’.
Identify, speak, repeat. It’s never too early to kick start this process. If you’re reading this, perhaps the time for you is now.