Monday, January 15, 2024

Spiraling Downward

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)

Have you ever known someone who appeared as though they would really make their mark in life? They looked like they were going to do well, but then they self-destructed.

That is what happened to Saul, the first king of Israel. He started out well, but things went from bad to worse because he disobeyed God. And when his successor, David, emerged on the scene, Saul began to relentlessly hunt him down.

On more than one occasion, Saul tried to murder David because he was paranoid and jealous of him. And when Saul went to battle against the Philistines and realized that he was clearly defeated, he killed himself.

Saul had so much promise and potential, but he threw his life away. He was more concerned with what others thought of him than with what God thought of him. He was shallow. He was vain. And he was a fool.

In fact, he once admitted, “I have been a fool and very, very wrong” (1 Samuel 26:21 NLT). Or, as the New King James Version puts it, “I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”

Like Saul, we can play the fool in our lives as well.

We play the fool when we disobey God, even in the smallest matters. Spiritual decline is gradual. Saul’s failure wasn’t immediate. At first, he was humble, but then pride set in. He took matters into his own hands and did what God told him not do.

We play the fool when we attempt to justify the wrongs we have done. More than once, Saul blamed others for something he had done wrong. And when he finally owned up to his sin, it was only to save face. We must be honest about our sin and admit it when we’ve done something wrong.

We play the fool when we allow hatred and jealousy to control our lives instead of love. There always will be people who do better in life than we do. There always will be someone who is better looking, in better shape, and more intelligent than we are. And if allow jealousy to control us, then we’ll be miserable people. Instead, we can thank God for everything He has given us because we don’t deserve any of it. 

Saul threw his life away, and his jealousy ultimately destroyed him. In the end, if he had genuinely repented, God would have forgiven him.

The Bible says, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT).

In other words, if we’re really sorry for something we’ve done, then we will stop doing it. But to say we’re sorry and continue in a path of disobedience shows that we’re not sorry at all.

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