3:23

I really like the new Sara Bareilles single, “King of Anything.” (AND I love the silverware piano in the music video!) The premise of the song is essentially a girl who doesn’t want to be controlled by a man anymore. I was listening to it the other day, and the Lord used a pretty ordinary, upbeat, secular song (hint, hint: He can use anything He chooses) to reveal something pretty extraordinary.

Whenever the Lord has something to teach me, it is an unmistakable word in my Spirit. I know as I listened to Sara’s straightforward lyrics, the Lord revealed, “That’s you…with Me.” So, of course, I quickly restarted the song and listened closely to the words. When I verbalized her words as my own, but not directed toward a controlling man, but rather toward my loving God and Savior, I was speechless. Each line, each word, brought conviction to my heart. (As I go through each of these, please keep in mind that I am in no way judging Ms. Bareilles or her lyrics. These are simply things God showed me using her song. This is certainly not a commentary on her heart or motivation for the song. End of disclaimer.)

1. I AM SO PROUD. The whole song is all about knowing and doing what you think is best. How many times have I had a conversation with the Lord where ultimately I’m saying, “You’ve got opinions, man. We’re all entitled to ’em, but I never asked.” Ouch–that’s tough self-revelation, right there. My pride takes over and I don’t want Him to tell me what to do. In fact, I stop even listening to His leading. I “look outside…and count the cars that pass by.” My pride also tells me that I can take care of myself, that I don’t need Him. The lyric, “I’m not drowning. There’s no one here to save,” shot me straight to the heart. Do I forget my need of my Savior? Do I think that I’ve somehow arrived? Do I think that I’m above needing His grace EVERY moment? Do I think I’m doing HIM a favor by being a Christian? Do I think I know better than Him? PRIDE.

2. I DO NOT FULLY TRUST HIM. If I trusted Him completely, I would not stall in my obedience. I would not question His leadership or delay at all in following Him. In verse two, she says, “You swear you know best, but you expect me to jump up on board with you.” Yes, He does. He expects it. He knows best. Do I trust Him? Do I believe that He has the best plan for me? Can I go anywhere with Him? Do I trust Him to protect my heart? Do I trust Him with my future? With my past?

3. I AM AN IDOLATER. Idolatry is the worship of other gods, as I’m sure you know. Worship is a response of praise and sacrifice to that which we deem worthy of it. Our hearts were made to worship–we will worship something. It’s a matter of what, not if. When I seek after something other than the Living God to meet and fill my needs, I am committing idolatry. Sara writes, “All my life, I’ve tried to make everybody happy while I just hurt and hide.” Idols will never satisfy. We think they will make us happy. We think they will fill and heal, but they are powerless. Only the Risen Son of God has the power to do anything in our lives. What idol do I chase? To what idol do I make sacrifices? What idol do I think will satisfy my longing heart?

4. I WILLINGLY REBEL AGAINST GOD’S WORD. Every day, several times a day, I mimic Sara’s sentiments: “Who cares if you disagree–you are not me.” I’m disgusted at the thought that my thoughts, words, and actions say that to the Most High God. What conviction of the Holy Spirit do I ignore? What sins do I not take seriously? What sins do I think are “not that bad”? Do I care what Scripture has to say regarding my rebellion?

I have to admit–it was a lot to take in during that 3 minutes and 23 seconds. But Jesus showed me those things with fullness of grace and truth. I have faith that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, so this must be part of that work. The chorus says, “you dare tell me who to be.” Yes, He does: Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” He has the absolute reign in our lives because, “HE died and IS KING of EVERYthing….ohh ohh…ohh ohh…”

is it worth it?

“Is it worth it?” I’m sure you have asked yourself that question plenty of times. I know I have, whether it was in regards to the price of something I wanted to buy or if it was regarding getting off the couch and going for a run. We have several choices to make every day, and ultimately we make those decisions based on our answer to THAT question: “is it worth it?” Why do you get out of bed and into the shower? Because it’s worth the ten minutes to be clean. Why do you drive to work five days a week? Because the time spent at work is worth the paycheck. Why do you go to school? Because the years of schooling are worth the diploma or degree. Why do you spend time with the Lord in prayer and His Word? Because the time is worth the growth in the knowledge of Him. Before we do anything, we inevitably and instinctively “count the cost.” Is [fill in the blank] worth what it is going to cost me?

We ask this same question when it comes to sin. Is it worth it? Unfortunately, in my own life, I find myself saying “yes” far too often. I count the cost–I know what CAN or WILL happen if I choose to sin–and yet I willfully continue right along in ungodliness. It is the great deception of Satan, the hater of our souls, that says, “Sin IS worth what it costs you.”

Several months ago now, I heard about a well-known Christian musician who had recently stepped down from ministry because of sexual sin in his life. During that same week, I got a phone call from a young friend of mine who had just broken up with her live-in boyfriend of two years. She had lost her virginity to him and she was devastated. The tears flowed as she shared her broken heart. I only heard sobbing as I said, “God loves you. You are forgiven. He’s not mad at you…I promise.”

She listened, cried, and then said, “Courtney, I believe in God still, I do…But I’m a different person. I’ve changed. I’ve made decisions and done things that have changed me. I’m a different person.” Now, to give some background, I met this girl three years ago and she was a ball of fire for the Lord. She was out-going, fearless, magnetic, an absolute joy. This relationship that she ended has taken its toll on her, all of her–emotions, personality, self-confidence, security, and obviously, her relationship with Jesus. The cost of her sexual sin has been exponentially more than she ever intended to give.

At the time, I was studying in Proverbs and the Lord, in His sovereignty, had me in chapter 7 on the very day that I spoke with this precious, broken girl. It is about the seductive woman who leads the young man astray. She has made occasion for adultery while her husband is away and she is after her “prey.” Now we cannot discount the young man’s responsibility in this as well. By reading the text, we find that he goes to the place where she normally is, also making occasion for sin. My heart broke as I read the following words from verses 21-23:

21With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
22All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
23till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Jesus absolutely struck my heart so heavy with that last line: “he does not know that it will cost him his life.” I can hear Solomon’s voice break and quiver as he desperately shares that with his son. Can’t you? Some of you are fathers who have seen the devastation of sexual sin in our culture, in your churches, or maybe even in your own families, and you will do everything you can to spare your beloved children from it.

Notice the words in the passage: seductive speech, smooth talk, persuades, compels. Please don’t be naive–sin is appealing and enticing. It wouldn’t be a temptation if it wasn’t tempting

Secondly, verse 22 begins with the phrase all at once he follows her. I believe this implies that he was fighting and withstanding the temptation for a time. However, because he stayed in the midst of the temptation, he ultimately broke under the tension and walked the path of sin. When I read that phrase, the Lord gave me the idea of a rubber band being stretched. There is only so much tension that it can withstand, before all at once, it snaps. Know yourself. Know when you’re about to snap…and get out!

Lastly, I want to touch on the word life. The transliterated Hebrew word is nephesh and it means, “soul, self, appetite, mind, desire, emotion, passion; the inner being of man; that which breathes.” It comes from the root word naphesh which means “to take breath, refresh oneself.” Sexual sin will take everything. Period. Read through that definition again. It affects everything–your wants, your emotions, your thinking, your physical body. Nothing is spared. If we just look at the root word, then we can simply say, “he did not know that it would cost him his very breath.”

Now please hear my heart: I understand God’s Word and His nature enough to know that He can redeem ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. But, that does not negate the consequences and what sexual sin costs us. God doesn’t ask us to honor sex inside of marriage because He is mean and doesn’t want us to have fun…He wants us to have LIFE. He knows the cost.

I am well-aware of the possibility that you are reading this and thinking, “This has nothing to do with me. I’ve never committed adultery, or lived with my boyfriend, or even gotten anywhere close to those sins!” But if there is one thing that the Holy Spirit impressed upon me when I heard about that Christian musician, it was this: no one is immune to sin. ANYone, ANYone, ANYone can commit sexual sins. Believe me, the moment that we believe that we are “above” a certain sin, is the exact moment that we are the most susceptible to fall. It’s called pride–it is why Satan was kicked out of heaven. Pray for awareness and humility.

If you are in sexual sin of any kind, there is forgiveness, love, redemption–never condemnation. God loves you. He is not mad at you. I promise. Please tell someone who can help bring restoration and healing.

I would be willing to bet money that if I had the opportunity to ask the musician if his sexual sin was worth what it cost him, he would cry out, “No! No way…I had no idea it would cost me my life…”