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I have watched many people, often professing believers, who have entered into serious sin—often sexual sins you thought they would never commit. How does this happen?

There is a pattern. King David shows us this pattern in Psalm 36:

Transgression speaks [like an oracle] to the wicked (godless) [deep] within his heart; there is no fear (dread) of God before his eyes. For he flatters and deceives himself in his own eyes thinking that his sinfulness will not be discovered and hated [by God]. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. He plans wrongdoing on his bed; he sets himself on a path that is not good; he does not reject or despise evil (vv. 1-4 Amplified Bible).

The Progression

  • Temptation “speaks to us in our heart,” and we choose to enter into a sin.
  • Once in, we have two options: We must rationalize what we have done, or see it for what it is and repent.
  • The sin (and our Enemy) “speaks” to us, deep in our heart, calling us to go further.
  • If we do not resist and repent, we begin to rationalize that we will not be found out, that it is good, that it is not despicable and deadly, etc.
  • We run from God so that we will not have to deal with Him, and we lose the fear of the Lord.
  • Such self-deceit and rationalizations make us more and more foolish and deceived.
  • We now begin down a path that is “not good,” not just a momentary sin. It begins to become habitual.
  • We increasingly lose sight of the evil of our sin. It becomes more and more rationalized and more and more acceptable. And we get to places we never, ever dreamed we could go, spiraling downward.

You Are Not Immune

When we hear of a professing believer who has fallen into serious sexual sin, for instance, we often say, “How in the world could they have done that?”

If you talk with them, you will discover that, over time, they began to rationalize, and the sin became more and more reasonable to them. If they had not made these compromising rationalizations, they would have blown up mentally (if they were set on their sin).

Consequently, they became more foolish and continued deeper. It is a vicious cycle.

This is why it is so critical that we see sin as God sees it at the first temptation—no rationalizations, no excuses—and why it’s vital to resist and become accountable at the first blush of any temptation.

I don’t care who you are, you are not good enough to handle rationalized sin. You are capable of anything over time.