Words are powerful things. I am always amazed at how I can come to the Bible, especially a section that I am very familiar with, and all of a sudden see something that I have never seen before. This week I came across a word that I have read in a particular passage many times yet have missed its importance, power and impact. The word I read was the word “obvious” in the book of Galatians. Now if I were asking you what the word “obvious” meant, many of you would give me answers such as something in plain sight, or easily understood, something that even a fool would see, or understand and be able to act upon, as well as many other answers I am sure. But the point is this, for something to be obvious; it is devoid of any sort of obscurity. There is no question about what is meant or implied, and there is no question about what is seen and understood, it is obvious.
So with this understanding of what it means for something to be obvious lets take a look at this passage of scripture found in Galatians. In Chapter 5 verses 19 thru 24, Paul gives us two different lists contrasting the acts of the sinful nature and the fruits of the Spirit. But I want to look primarily at the first list, and it reads like this: “19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, 20 idolatry, and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.”
We read this word “obvious” in relation to the list of actions Paul is telling us are the acts of the sinful nature. Ask yourself, are the things on this list “obvious” to you, or do you find yourself a little “oblivious” to them in your day-to-day life? Do you see them on the horizon before they get a chance to infest and infect you life or are you so entrenched in some of these things that you don’t even realize you have become a slave to the sin that they are. Don’t get me wrong, it is easy to do and I don’t think that there is a soul on the planet who can say that they have not let the acts of the sinful nature crawl into their lives at some point or another.
Lets take a look at the things Paul is listing and spend some time thinking about how this may be a part of our lives and we may not even know it. The first one, sexually immorality, we tend to find as an easy one in the church but I think there are many who only place a certain sexual sin in the category of sexual immorality. Some of you may have an issue with pornography whether it is on or off the Internet, in fact some of you reading this may have just come from one of those sites. For others that say to themselves “I don’t do that, only perverted people do that” ask yourself, what kind of media choices do I put before my eyes and in my ears? Do I watch movies that have steamy love scenes in them all the while telling myself that it was an interregnal part of the plot, or do I ogle over women (or men) in public while out running errands when they don’t know that I am watching? Or it may simply be where you have trained your eyes to look when you are watching TV or people in the park. There are many compromises that people make in relation to sexual immorality. But Jesus says that even to look upon a women with lust is to have committed adultery with her. The same is true for women.
Each of these acts listed here by Paul have many possible avenues or ways of working into our lives and each one can trip us up faster than we would care to admit. But here is what struck me about this particular couple of verses. As Americans many of the things that would fall into the categories listed here would be considered normal everyday behavior. They would be considered natural and things that should be pursued in order to find happiness, success, our identity, true freedom or allowing us to be who we want to be. But as Christians, as followers of Christ, as people who have been changed by the Holy Spirit, we are called to live a different life. Not of worldly freedom that only leads to death, but eternal freedom that only comes from Christ. These things listed should be obvious to us to the point that when we see them on the horizon of our life we ovoid them at all costs. We need stop being oblivious to the things of destruction we are placing in our lives but instead train ourselves to see the obvious nature of sin, and understand that the true cost is much more than we will ever be able to bear on our own.
Sin is seductive, it looks like fun and is packaged like fun but for those of you, me included, who have had to taste the bitterness of your sin, you know that if you had only seen how obviously detrimental the sin was before you stepped into it, you would have never ventured that way to begin with.
So this week I would encourage you to take some real time and study the things on this list and ask yourself how they may have crept into your life while you have been totally oblivious to them. See what it is that might need some cleaning up and take it to the God who loves us unconditionally and sent his son to die for us. Repent of them and ask God to make these things more and more obvious to you as you continue to walk with God on the path that he has marked out for you.
God has called to live a life righteousness. He has called us to be Holy because he is Holy. We need to be prepared when the enemy comes so that when he sets his trap it will be so obvious to us that we simply avoid stepping into it and walk in righteousness of our God.