Earlier this year, I took an opiate painkiller for the first time.
It was right after I had had an oral surgery. The operation went well (bye-bye wisdom teeth!), but my doctor prescribed codeine afterward to help dull the pain.
Always curious, I googled codeine and immediately noticed these grim warnings:
“High risk for addiction and dependence.”
“…at the heart of the opioid crisis in the United States.”
“IMPORTANT WARNING: Codeine may be habit forming.”
The message was clear:
Don’t mess with this stuff.
Take it carefully.
Fortunately, my pain was local and short-lived, and it wasn’t long before I felt normal again. What a relief to drop the unused pills into a medication disposal a few days later.
Even still, I was thankful for those stern warnings I read online. And I found myself wondering:
Would sin look less appealing if we saw cautionary warnings (like the ones above) beforehand?
Would our fights against sin be easier if we realized its detrimental effects?
With painkillers, I never want to casually or carelessly take them, because I know how horrifying opioid addictions can be.
But how often I flippantly entertain
sinful thoughts and underestimate
the potency of sin in my life.
The works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.Galatians 5:19-21
I was nervous about even having that bottle of codeine pills in my room.
But how often I complacently tolerate sin as it creeps into my mind, my habits, my life.
At the heart of it, I think, is a failure to realize that God’s warnings to us about sin—just like those painkiller warnings I saw—are ultimately for our own good.
Verses like those ones from Galatians aren’t arbitrary rules. God isn’t a killjoy. He knows—more than we do—that we will only find our deepest satisfaction in him.
Yes, the opioid crisis is horrifying and tragic.
The world’s addictions to sins are far worse.
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.James 1:14-15
Today, may we neither flirt nor
casually experiment with sin.
May we stand firm and not succumb to whatever sinful pressures come our way.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.James 1:12