4 min read
By: Shane James O’Neill
Can God Use My Sin?
There is a difficult passage in the book of Hebrews, a passage that always sobers my soul. It goes:
See that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (emphasis mine)
These verses are so jarring because we are told our simple and trite sexual acts are causing us to forsake something much more precious, something we may never gain back.
This passage is exemplified in a story like Samson. Samson was a judge of Israel, before the age of kings. Samson was blessed by Jehovah (God) with extraordinary strength, through a vow, called the Nazirite vow. Due to his strength, Samson killed hundreds, and even thousands of enemies. Though, many of these battles took place to protect Samson’s pride, rather than to set God’s people free from enslavement.
Throughout Samson’s life, his calling as a judge of Israel was constantly conflicting with his lust for women. Eventually, Samson was brought low by sharing the secret of his strength to a foreign woman, which caused his vow to God to be violated. He was beaten by his enemies, who gouged out his eyes and imprisoned him. For the rest of his days, he was a blind slave, forced to work in a mill and act as entertainment.
Samson’s death occurred when he was brought into a pagan temple, chained between two pillars as a source of amusement for his captors. They mock the mighty Samson and marvel at their own power by humiliating this great warrior.
Samson prayed to God once more, asking for the strength he once possessed. God heard Samson and honored his prayer. Samson used the leverage from the pillars he was between to bring down the temple upon himself and all the pagan lords of the land. In a final recording, Scripture says of Samson, “Those he killed in his death were more than those he had killed during his life.”
In Samson’s greatest moment of humiliation, God was waiting upon Samson, giving him his strength back, and allowing him, one last time, to stand as a protector and judge of Israel. At the end, God allowed his death to be greater than all the actions of his life.
Strength and Lust
We see a hard truth in Samson’s life, just as we see it in king David’s life. Namely, lust will bring any mighty man very low. The youth and power of Samson was spent chasing women and avenging his pride. Consequently, he spends his final days in humiliation and without the power to save and care for the people of God.
In the same way, David is a man who reflects God’s own heart. Yet, because of David’s lust-filled actions, thousands of God’s people were killed.
Related: Lust and the Sin of King David
Burned But Redeemed
In our own ways, we can relate with these men. Many of us have relationships we’ve burned because we took it too far. Some of us have broken marriages, others of us are haunted by a history we have a hard time escaping.
Yet, for many, there is no overt consequence to our lustful habits. We keep our sin private and secret. We justify our actions with the knowledge that our sin doesn’t affect other people. And here’s where the Hebrew’s passage we began with breaks through and shipwrecks our assurance of safety:
God see’s our silent and private mistreatment of ourselves and others and because of it He works to keep us from the blessings that would further destroy us. There are aspects of grace you may never know, there are parts of your soul and heart you will never discover, there are opportunities and people you will never have or never know, if you continue to lie to yourself with pleasure. Every time we give ourselves elsewhere, we are denying the birthright of love, companionship, hope, community, and faith.
We are rejecting the blessings we long for by embracing the very lust that continues to curse us.
I don’t say this to discourage you. Even Samson, with all his mistakes, was given an opportunity to make his life truly meaningful by calling out to God. There is always hope. But do you want to wait until the end of your life, when all the opportunities and gifts have been smeared away with every act of sin? Or do you long to be the person you were first made to be?
You are more powerful than you know, with a greater potential for love than you allow. And we know this for one beautiful reason, because Jesus is that way, and God is committed to making you like Him.
Our acts of sin, even our private ones, are keeping us from the birthright Jesus longs to give us.
We can continue to forsake our birthright of dignity and integrity, strength and love, or we can live in the redemption of God’s kingdom. All you need to do is walk with Jesus away from your sin, into light and into the family of His Kingdom.
So, yea, God can use your sin as He longs to redeem the pride and lust that have you kept you from really living. Are you ready yet to actually become you?
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— axe throwing
— keynote speaker
— did we mention axe throwing??
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.