When my kids were little I met a woman at the bus stop who told me she once ate a whole bag of potato chips and got so sick that she has never eaten another chip again.
I had a similar experience last week except that it wasn’t food that made me sick, it was sin. The sin was a particular disobedience of the Holy Spirit that I’ve committed many times, resulting in a soul-sick feeling afterward.
But this time it was the potato chip that broke the camel’s back. The immediate gain I had hoped to derive from the words I spoke to my husband was short-lived, and the price in terms of inner misery was high. In fact, I don’t even know the complete cost because all I know is the part I’ve experienced so far, not the long-term damages and not the forfeiture of the might-have-beens of grace that would have been forthcoming to me if I had obeyed God, who always blesses obedience:
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8, NIV 1984).
The Lord displays two possible outcomes of repeated lapses into the same sin that we have been patiently warned against. Here is one:
“He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing” (Proverbs 29:1).
Here is the other:
“… whoever suffers in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2).
This is the stark choice—to continue to brush aside checks in the spirit and to trifle with God’s indwelling promptings, bearing the penalty in our own bodies. Or, to live by the Spirit and obey the Spirit, putting to death the sinful strategy, and to live a new kind of life no longer controlled by old bondages.
This is the Word of the Lord, and His offer is good. Sometimes you are just so done with potato chips.