QUICKSAND


QUICKSAND

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins nor dealt with us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)

Have you ever done something so terrible or made such a mess of your life that hopelessness becomes your constant companion? Do you find yourself in that place right now, wondering "How in the world did I get here?". Even as Christians, we sometimes get ourselves into murky circumstances, with habitual sins and hangups designed to trap us. James, the brother of Jesus, explains the destructive nature of sin when he writes, "...each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death [James 1:15]. These habitual sins and hangup suck us deeper until we have no way of escaping, sort of like quicksand. 

According to resources, quicksand is "a colloid hydro-gel that forms when water saturates an area of loose sand and the sand is agitated. When water trapped in sand cannot escape, it creates liquefied soil that cannot support weight. Thus, if one happens to step on this liquefied soil (quicksand), the viscosity of the quicksand suddenly increases and that person will begin to sink. The forces required to move within the quicksand are quite large: to remove a foot from quicksand at a speed of .01m/s would require the same amount of force as that needed to lift a medium-sized car". (Wikipedia)

So, are you in this quicksand or sin? It seems like the harder you try to climb your way out, the deeper you sink. Coming out of this place by yourself is impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27). There is absolutely no sin big enough, no pit deep enough, and no quicksand strong enough that God cannot forgive and pull you out of. Now the question is: are you going to take that first step and humble yourself, asking God for His help and forgiveness, or will you, in your pride, try to make it out on your own, snubbing God's offer of forgiveness and help? The ball is truly in your court. Only God's grace and mercy can destroy that quicksand of sin, enabling you to escape and fully turn away from that sin. 

The Word is filled with several instances of God's mercy and forgiveness. On numerous occasions, the Israelites, God's chosen people, tried God's patience by constantly diving into the quicksand of idolatry and sin, turning away from The God Who had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt, to worthless idols. But once they cried out in distress and repentance, God relented in His anger and forgave them (see Judges 2-3:11). We also see this in the life of King David. You know the story: David, who had an adulterous affair with another man's wife; David, who, in trying to cover up that sin (notice the word "cover", because that is the only thing that can happen when we try to erase sin from our lives in our own strength), compounded it by orchestrating the elimination of said wife's husband (2 Samuel 11-12). Yes, David had stepped right into that quicksand and was struggling to get out...on his own. Finally, fed up of trying, David (prompted by the prophet Nathan) accepts that hand of mercy God offers him. But the process only began when David acknowledged and confessed his sin. 

Its been said that the first step to any healing process is acknowledging that there is a problem. Likewise, like King David, we must first acknowledge and confess that we are in this quicksand of sin. You must also acknowledge that you cannot make it out of this quicksand on your own. King David understood this when he penned Psalm 51, a prayer of repentance. In verse 1, he calls out to the God of mercy saying, "Have mercy upon me O God, according to the multitude of Your tender mercies...". Then in verse 3 & 4, he says, "For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, and You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight...". David was called a "man after God's own heart" even after his sin (Acts 13:22). Why? David had a heart sensitive to God's will. He truly understood the magnitude of his sin, but he also understood that God is a God of mercy, and was bold enough to get back up again after falling. He was humble enough to ask for mercy, knowing that God would go through great lengths to blot his sins and transgressions. And He will do the same for you and me...He already did! He knew the only way to permanently take care of this sin problem was to sacrifice Someone so precious to Him...His Son, Jesus! (John 3:16)

Wherever you are in your walk with God, whether you are near or far away from him, remember He always has His eye on you. I know I may be "preaching to the choir" here, as some of you are very much aware of this, but it cannot be repeated enough: there is no sin so big enough that God cannot forgive, for "behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear". [Isaiah 59:1]. You may have strayed far away from God, but He has not lost sight of you. He is relentless in His love for you and He will relentlessly pursue you. Yes...you! You mean that much to Him. He will never allow a child of His be devoured by sin; But you've got to make that first move and reach out to Him. Like the prodigal son, like King David, come back to your senses and come boldly before God's throne of grace that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Luke 15:17; Hebrews 4:16). The Lord is saying, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

Here are some practical tips in coming out of that quicksand:

  1. Acknowledge that you are indeed in a quicksand of sin (Psalm 51:3)
  2. Realize you can do nothing about your sin; Only God can and He is willing to, for a broken and contrite heart He will not despise (Isaiah 51:17)
  3. Reach out to God's hand of mercy, receiving His forgiveness and forgiving yourself (Psalm 51:1)
  4. Do not look back; Keep moving forward, knowing that He has blotted out your transgressions. Therefore, any accusations are rendered invalid (Romans 8:1; Micah 7:19; Psalm 103:12)

Now quit trying to make it out on your own, for apart from God you can do nothing (John 15:5). Your destiny hangs in the balance. Reach out to God and grab a hold of His unchanging hand. He will pull you out of that quicksand of sin and set you on a path to righteousness. What are you waiting for?

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