Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I’ll send you the rest.
This note is said to have been received by the Internal Revenue Service some time ago. We chuckle because the sender was willing to be honest up to a point . . . just far enough to help relieve his guilty conscience . . . just far enough to help his sleep return . . . but not far enough to make a clean break.
Philip Bailey, the nineteenth-century poet, once made this stabbing statement: “The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat One’s self. / All sin is easy after that.”
Cheating is only the beginning. All sin carries a form of self-deception, robbing us of the wonder and joy of freedom in Christ.
God gives us the key in Ephesians that unlocks the secret of overcoming our bent to sinful patterns.
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Paul is advocating a turning point in your life starting with an acceptance of the truth—that you no longer live bound by desires and sinful patterns of your past. What has hold of you? An angry spirit, a lustful mind, an addiction, a stubborn grudge that has you bound in bitterness? None of that can withstand the transforming, freedom-giving power of the Holy Spirit. You can unleash that power in you when you surrender to the Lord and to His vision for you. A vision of true righteousness.
Are you ready for your turning point?