Sin,Shortcuts, and Small things
The quality of our ‘life’ in general is the product of our daily lives, our daily lives are the product of moment by moment decisions, and those decisions are the product of how self- aware or attentive we are. Whilst I have always known this as a general truth, it was not until I started to break down the particulars of my daily life, that I truly noted the potential impact that these small decisions and actions we having on my relationship with God.
As you know, life in the 21st century is fast paced. Indeed, technology augments this pace and enables us to do things so efficiently that we can often overlook the ethical/moral implications of those fast-paced actions. Let me give you an example, I have acquired a new accounting program that enables me to enter the details of all my business-related expenses (including a photo of the receipt) into my Smartphone as soon as I make a purchase; this then uploads instantly into the program’s server, recording it in the expenses ledger; its brilliant –no more logbooks.
Invariably, when I buy fuel at any petrol station I am also in the habit of purchasing a $1 coffee with a sausage roll (especially at 711) and including it with the fuel purchase on the credit card payment. Of course, the $3 I spend on food is not usually tax-deductible, but because it is on the fuel receipt and is such a small amount I just include the whole lot as fuel as a tax-deductible expense. I was doing this, not because I maliciously wanted to defraud the government of the few cents in tax, but only because it ‘seemed’ too much of a hassle to differentiate the two different expenses from an accounting point of view; after all I am too busy to bother with these small matters—right!
But you know, the wrong thing is the still the wrong thing—even if it’s just a tiny thing. It doesn’t matter if its a few cents that no one will ever know about or a big thing that will land you in jail. When you think about what sin is and how it happens, it’s more complex than maliciously deciding to do the wrong thing. In fact, mostly its a spur of the moment decision that represents a simple short-cut. For example, theft (stealing) is taking the short way of getting something you can legitimately acquire–if you could just patiently take the time to gain it the right way. In fact, in many instances, the difference in doing the wrong or right thing involves little more than taking a few seconds to think about it.
However, small sins and big sins affect the quality of our relationship with God in exactly the same way, even though they may not affect ‘you’ in the same way. In grieving the Holy Spirit (often through thoughtless disobedience) we can dull our sensitivity to God’s will, which in turn has an exponential effect hardening our sensitivity to bigger and bigger deviations from the truth, potentially leading us to a place where we can become ‘relationally’ far from God— even while we think we are ‘OK’ with God. From personal experience I have found its a dangerous place to be!
I learned a long time ago that small actions in your life can make a big difference. Both, small acts of disobedience and obedience alter the quality of our relationship with God, and consequently the joy and peace you have in life. How well we pick up on those small challenges and small opportunities depends on our self-awareness of that relationship; but that takes time! But, if we allow the busyness of life to determine our agenda, we may soon find that those little insignificant short-cuts will lead us away from the very one who promised He would provide for our every need, if we would just seek first ‘his kingdom and his righteousness’!
I must be a slow learner, but I have been reminded,yet again, that shortcuts in small things can start a drift away from that place of intimate fellowship with the God and the joy and peace that attends it. God loves us and wants to provide for our every need, and give us fruitful life that comes with obedience to his will. I think, if we are willing to slow down and live on God’s agenda, even in the tiny things of life; in the end it will make a big difference. We will be more aware of God, his will, and ourselves—much more at peace. Who knows we might just find out that God’s provision is sitting right in front of us,whereas before we were just too busy to see it.