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…”

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4 thoughts on “is it worth it?

  1. Thank you for that! You are probably the definition of a proverbs 31 woman! I wish you did not live way up there in the north! Haha!

  2. Dear Courtney,
    I was thinking about what you wrote. God has been teaching me lately that I often overlook his justice and righteous anger to be more on the side of just thinking about how much God loves me. God has been challenging me to remember how Holy He is and how much he hates sin. Even sin in a believer’s life. I think I often get stuck on the fact that all my sins are forgiven and so can use that as an excuse to remain in some sins I see as being “not a big deal.” How sad. All sin is a big deal to God and we will have to stand before him one day. If a person lives in continual un-repentent sin we need to examine ourselves. I know when we repent and turn away He is there to care for us and love on us. Matt is very much on the justice side and I have been very much on the love side of things, and I think we balance each other out, but there must be a balance there somehow.

    I say all of that because I know you are probably writing to believers with this post, but saying that God is never condemning may cause some to have less motivation (like me) to do better in some areas. But we know that we should not take his grace for granted and out of love for him seek to please him. I think over the last few weeks God’s just been showing me that there are times when He is not pleased with believers. He does not like sin, and he may even strike people dead for it. (Ie. Ananias and Saphira). So it is not something we should take lightly but search our hearts and ask the Lord to continue to groom us. Whether it be in the area of sexual sin or other areas like laziness and bad attitudes, or letting our emotions rule us instead of standing on the truth of God, and the less bold sins that some of us struggle with.

    Our God is a consuming fire. I know I need to focus on that side a bit more.

    Thanks for sharing your blog. I always love reading and being sharpened by your thoughts.

    Love you!

  3. This is very thought provoking

    You make it sound as if those who have had sex outside of marriage are going to hell, though.

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