Alexander Pope was an 18th century English poet. He is said to be quoted more often than any other man except Shakespeare in The Oxford Book of Quotes. Pope said this about sin/vices: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien…As to be hated needs but to be seen;…Yet seen too oft, familiar with his face,…We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” In plain English, Pope reminded us that sin is a monster which only needs to be seen to be hated. However, if we “see” sin too often our hatred turns to endurance which turns to pity which then turns to acceptance. How very, very true! The more we indulge in sin, the easier it is to indulge in sin.
Monday…Sin is compared to some very unsavory activities in our Bibles. Proverbs 26:11 reminds us that fools repeat their folly just as dogs return to their own vomit. See the pig return to its wallow after it is cleaned up for the 4-H fair. See the sinner return again and again to the same activities. What a tragedy! Sinful habits are to be broken.
Tuesday…Our culture celebrates sin and does so regularly. I Peter 4:4 reminds us that those who are slaves to sin think it strange that we do not want to join them in their wickedness. We think very differently about sin than does the person of the world. For some, sin is fun; still others think it is clever or makes one more desirable and/or popular. God says it will damn the soul to an eternal hell.
Wednesday…Sin is to be hated and avoided. Giving up sin is very, very difficult because it is enjoyable…for a while. Then, the bills come due. Hebrews reminds us that Moses chose to avoid the sins of Egypt and chose rather to suffer with the people of God (Hebrews 11:25). Christians needs to abandon sin—all sin. We know this is an impossibility, but the last verse of Matthew 5 is still in the Bible.
Thursday…Living by the Spirit instead of living by the flesh is commanded in the Scripture for the children of God. Galatians 5:16 and following is an excellent text to remind God’s people of their responsibilities and goals. Sinful habits are to be abandoned and to be put in their place are good habits and good character traits.
Friday…Trying real hard on one’s own is usually not the way to give up sinful behavior. Yielding to the Holy Spirit is a much better way. This yielding is not merely some psychological ploy. Rather, it is a conscious effort on the part of the believer to PURSUE holiness through the power of God’s presence in our lives.