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Sin’s Steady Subjection | Bible Gleanings – January 7-8, 2023

Sin has a way of taking over. It does not want to be a powerless prince; it aspires to rule on the throne of your heart like a tyrannical king. It has no desire to be your boss; it wants to be your slavemaster. It wishes to submerge you in its filthy mire, not merely smear a smidgen of it on you. Merely dipping your toes in its enticing waters will not quench its thirst to destroy you; it wants to drown you in a deadly whirlpool of guilt. 

The unknown author of the first psalm evidently had a profound grasp on the overtaking nature of sin. He said, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (v. 1). Did you notice sin’s gradual dominance? The first step toward wickedness is stepping on the evil path—walking in the counsel of the wicked. Then, such strolling leads to standing “in the way of sinners” and holding one’s place. Eventually, you reach the seat of iniquity, where you sit for good.   

We willfully follow this downhill slope of retrogression every time we sin. This is exemplified by every character in Scripture who suffered a moral fall. Each of them took one small step on the path of sin, and before long, they were firmly planted there. They dilly-dallied near the cliff of iniquity until they fell and eventually hit the ground of disgrace. David committed adultery, theft, and murder because of one lustful glance at Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1-12:14). Cain killed own brother because of one burning ember of jealousy in his heart (Gen. 4:1-12). 

According to pastor and author, R. Kent Hughes, the lethal cycle of sin usually unfolds as follows: “[There is] a progressive desensitization to sin and a consequent inner descent from holiness . . . the pathology of the human factors that lead to a moral fall [are]: desensitization, relaxation, fixation, rationalization, and degeneration.”1

This is true. First, we become numb to sin, treating it as if it were a harmless mosquito bite (cf. Gen. 19:15-16). Second, we become apathetic, lowering our shield and stowing our sword in its sheath (cf. Rev. 3:15-16). Third, the eyes of our idolatrous heart become fixated on the sin for which our flesh hungers—and at this point, we see no use in letting go or looking away (cf. 1 John 2:15-17). Fourth, we justify our sin in every manner possible, and the mind becomes sin’s lawyer, defending it with every conceivable reason and excuse (cf. Gen. 3:12-13). And finally, we reach the point of no return until we hit the ground at the bottom of sin’s slippery slope.

We must heed the Lord’s wise counsel to Cain: “And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7b). Be mindful that sin is out to get you. Do not deviate from the path of righteousness or sit comfortably in sin’s seat. Take the axe of repentance and cut sin off at its root before it grows. Dethrone it from your heart by the grace of Christ.

  1. Hughes, Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 34, 38.
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

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My Tribute to Theresa Hughes

Tomorrow I preach the funeral of one of the most loved students at our church. She was one of the sweetest young ladies I ever knew, and it was a privilege and honor to be her youth pastor for many years. Preaching her funeral is not something I’ve ever thought once of doing since the moment I met her. I certainly didn’t think it would be this soon. This is definitely the hardest thing that I’ve had to deal with as a minister. Below is my tribute to this wonderful young lady, who I loved very much.

“It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.”—Anonymous

Without a doubt, as our lives go on, you and I will never forget Theresa Hughes. We’ll always remember her and all the times she made us laugh, all the times she made us cry, all the times we had fun with her, all the hard times she helped us get through.

If you ever met her, I can guarantee you that you have positive memories with her. She was just an overall great-spirited person to be around. Never once did I ever hear an ill word utter from her lips. She was a bright, and always smiling young lady who made a lasting and positive impact on everybody who knew her.

That’s just the kind of person she was. You can’t say that about everybody, but you can sure say it about Theresa. She was friends with everybody in our youth group, and if she wasn’t your friend, it was just because you weren’t introduced to her!

I was her youth pastor for several years (since 2012), and because of this I have many wonderful memories with her. When I first came to Ohio Valley, she was one of the first persons I was introduced to. I knew from the day I met her that there was something special about her.

I could talk all day long about so many good memories and experiences that I had with her, but I’ll just highlight a few that stand out the most to me. I’ll never forget this one time she smashed a plate full of shaving cream right into my face. Yes, as a youth pastor, you have those type of experiences. Moral of the story: teenagers cannot be trusted with shaving cream. 

We had an outdoor event, and I had just recently been hired by Ohio Valley to be their youth minister. I was rubbing elbows with all the students they had, getting to know them and their stories. And I was only briefly introduced to Theresa a few times, but I recall sitting down in a lawn chair and it got real quiet. I also didn’t see any of the other students around, and the next thing I know: SQQUIISSHH! I had a face (and mouth) full of shaving cream, and the culprit standing behind me was Theresa. Next thing you know, everyone is wiping shaving cream on everybody! (pictured above)

I’ll never forget all the times she sat in our Sunday school class and asked questions about the Bible. I’ll never forget all the discussions we had about the Bible on Wednesday nights with our youth. I’ll never forget about all the volleyball and kickball we played during VBS together. I’ll never forget about all the events she went to with our group, and how she fit right in with everybody.

But I thank God for the memory of her that is pressed in my mind. There’ll be times when you and I are at work, while we’re at school, while we’re in bed, or while we’re outside that we will remember Theresa and the good times we had with her and our hearts will be warmed by those wonderful memories.

Praise God for Theresa, and praise God for allowing us to know her, befriend her and love her these 18 years she was allotted to be with us on this earth. She was truly someone we will always remember, and someone we will always love and cherish.