Don’t cheat yourself

Cheating goes against everything I was brought up to believe. It’s the lowest form of lying. To cheat is to deceive with a purpose. It could be something as simple as a four year old peeking at the color cards while playing Chutes and Ladders.

Our grandson tried peeking. He wanted to win. No one likes to lose. We are born with an innate sense that winning is better than losing. We also know cheating is wrong. If we didn’t, why would we try to hide it?

Think about a small child, 18 months or so. She crawls over to the TV and pulls herself up using the TV stand. Mom reminds her “Don’t touch.” What does this wide-eyed innocent child do? Sit down and quietly return to playing with toys? Nope, she reaches out, watching Mom, and touches the TV. It’s how we are made, testing the limits to find out where the boundaries lay.

Boundaries are a moving target as we grow up. As we are able to think about the positive or negative consequences of our actions, parents usually expect children to make more choices resulting in positive consequences than they do resulting in negative ones. We raised three children. Two boys and a girl.

Our oldest was constantly plunging headlong against any boundary or structure created for him. He was fearless. He wanted to know how far he could go. It wasn’t until he started paying adult prices for his actions that he accepted any boundary.

When our daughter reached puberty, well let’s just say she was our most challenging child. She knew the price her behavior would reap but was willing to roll the dice. She was probably lucky sometimes and didn’t get caught which only reinforced that the risk was worth the payoff. You could categorize these as our wild children.

Our youngest approached life differently. He would often get right up next to the boundary but not actually cross it. We called him the lawyer. Sometimes he would step part of a foot across and then leap back. We usually heard something like, “But I only . . .”  His behavior was often passive aggressive. I’d say, “Go clean your room.” He’d go in his room and move things around but get nothing accomplished. He could sit gazing off into space for hours while he was supposed to be doing his homework.

Once we hear the gospel, the boundary becomes very clear. We now know we are incapable of living without sin in our lives. From the time we were little and first touched the TV when we were told not to, we sin.

Our thoughts are sinful. There was a summer when, so angry at my parents, I was determined to run away. I had packed a trunk. Each day I thought about how I was going to show them. I would go to bed every night, intending to sneak out once my parents went to bed. I don’t remember why I as so angry, just that anger burned for several days. I always fell asleep before they went to bed. I would wake even more angry but now at myself. I didn’t even have discipline to stay awake until they went to bed!

I knew I was wrong, that’s probably why I wanted to get away so badly. To be honest, I’ve been a runner all my life. The adage is true, wherever I go–there I am! I can’t get away from me and I can’t get away from God. He sees everything I do and loves me still. Amazing!

Knowing God and the saving grace of Christ doesn’t give me a license to sin. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

I’ve known Jesus as my Savior since I was about 10. I knew being sullen with my parents, refusing to speak to them, and planning to run away was wrong. I also knew, the anger I allowed to burn in my breast and fed with regularity throughout each day was wrong. I definitely wasn’t walking in Him. The great thing, I could start walking with and in Him again. I just had to choose. Eventually I did, had a talk with God about it and probably told my parents I was sorry by changing my behavior.

God wants none of us to be cheated by false witnesses. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

There are many who argue against the existence and forgiving grace of God with science. Time Magazine published an article entitled, Why Science Does Not Disprove God. As science matures it seems to come closer to proving the existence of God rather than the other way around. God teaches me not to be cheated out of a life with Him by science.

There are many philosophers who teach that God is imaginary and weave an argument to support their position. For some it’s a compelling argument. I believe those who fall into this thought process are searching for a reason to deny God. They seem to be operating on the principle that if it seems too good to be true then it must not be true. They want to believe there is something they can do to earn a place in the hereafter. The idea being it can’t be free, there MUST be a price.

There is a price. It is one that neither you or I can’t pay. We can’t atone for our sin and we can’t not sin. Therefore we need a Savior. Long before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied in 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

‭‭You ask, “Who is Him?” He is Jesus! He was born, lived a sinless life, was beaten and crucified, gave up His life, and rose again on the 3rd day. He now sits at the right hand of God making intercession for His people. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Don’t be cheated out of your relationship with Him! Need to talk? Let me know, I’d love to chat.

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