I was sitting on the edge of the doctor’s table doubled over in pain convinced that I was about to hear that I had contracted a dreadful disease. If not a disease, then for sure I was going to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. I was feeling so bad! Much to my surprise, it didn’t take long for my doctor to assure me that my fears were completely unfounded—-I simply had bad indigestion. When he asked me when it all started I replied, “Well, we went out to dinner and I had the most amazing crab cakes. They were so delicious—I really enjoyed them, but I started feeling sick afterwards. Then the next day when I ate the leftovers, I started feeling sick again.” That’s when my very sarcastic doctor looked at me with a smirk on his face and asked, “If you felt sick the first time you ate the crab cakes, why did you eat the leftovers?” Obviously, because I really enjoyed them! They tasted so good. In a few minutes I was sent home and told to stop eating foods that I know my body cannot tolerate. Seems simple right??? But oh, it’s so hard when there’s a delicious plate of crab cakes offered to you!!! It’s been twenty years since the infamous “Crab Cake Debacle”, and yet I was thinking about it as I was remembering a conversation awhile back with a woman who spent the entire time complaining about all of the problems in her life. Actually, I can’t say she spent the entire time talking about the problems—-there were a few times when she mentioned how much she enjoyed participating in activities that were actually contributing to and possible enlarging the problems she hated so much. Honestly, it took everything inside of me to keep from repeating my doctor’s snarky reply and saying, “Why do you keep doing things that are causing you pain?” Instead I tried to be more kind as I pointed out that I disagreed with her choices, but inside I was thinking: “Girl, what are you thinking! You know this is wrong. You know that your choices have consequences, and yet you’re excusing your behavior because you enjoy it!” And it isn’t just this one person. I hear it all the time: “What’s the big deal? It’s just entertainment—-everybody’s watching that movie, it isn’t really pornography.” “I have to go out to the bar with my friends. I mean, I don’t want to be alone—-I need a social life.” “Everyone is sleeping with their boyfriend. Premarital sex is normal. No one is going to go out with a woman who waits for marriage. Besides, sex is enjoyable.” And the examples go on and on. Women who call themselves Christians and are active in their church use these defenses and more to excuse their sin. What’s even more heartbreaking, is that many of these same women are crying at altars and in counselors offices about the painful consequences that their sin is creating, yet aren’t gaining victory over their issues because they refuse to give up the sin that is causing their heartache and pain. And yet, there is only one way to break this cycle of pain and find healing—-it’s much like my doctor told me the day that I went into his office seeking physical healing: You need to make a lifestyle change. You need to follow Paul's command in 1 Corinthians 15:34 which says: Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. (NLT) If you really want to find healing in your heart, your mind, and your spirit…if you really want to stop living with the painful consequences of sin in your life…then you need to choose to stop excusing sin, ask God to forgive you for sinning, and make a plan of action to STOP SINNING. As Hebrews 12:1 says, you need to: “Strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” The truth is that sin has consequences. It separates you from God and keeps you from having a close intimate relationship with Him. It causes pain in your heart and mind. Sin destroys relationships. Because God cannot bless sin, it keeps you from experiencing the amazing plan that God has for your life. That’s why I’m sharing this blog this week—-because I believe there are some women who need to hear the truth. Perhaps you know that you are tolerating sin in your life. You’re making excuses to everyone around you—-maybe you’ve even convinced yourself that your choices are ok. And yet, you’re wondering why you’re suffering so many painful consequences. You’re tired of your situation, but you’re torn between making the lifestyle changes you know God wants you to make and continuing on with the sin that is giving you temporary enjoyment. Today, I want to challenge you with the same words my doctor said to me: It’s time to make a change and stop consuming the things that cause you pain. Even if you enjoy them.
It’s time to find out what the Bible says about your particular area of compromise and then conform to God’s standards. It’s time to get alone with God and repent TODAY of the sin that you have been not just tolerating, but actually enjoying in your life. Then make a decision to stop sinning, to make a lifestyle change and begin pursuing true spiritual health and freedom. Want to go all out and really experience freedom? Find a trusted, mature Christian who will hold you accountable to keeping your commitment. Allow them to ask you the hard questions, keep tabs on your choices and help you avoid the temptation that will come knowing at your door trying to entrap you again. Tell them your plan and ask them to help you keep it. Most importantly, remember that the pleasure of sin is only temporary. Just like the phenomenally delicious crab cakes were enjoyable in the moment; in the end they caused a lot of agony and pain. (serious pain). The same is true with sin. Although it may sound harsh to say that you need to stop sinning, this simple truth is really meant to keep you from pain and help you enjoy the amazing life that following God’s principles will bring you. That’s what I want for you, for me and all women—-to live in God’s will and experience all He has for us—-not live trapped in sin and pain. If this sounds harsh, know it was spoken in love—-because I want you to be all you can be and experience all God has for you. And now I have to go cook—-no, we aren’t having crab—-never, ever again!!! --Adessa
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.