One thing I have noticed in my own life is how difficult it is to quit doing something you have done for years. I quit drinking pop some time in March, but it didn’t go away easily. I originally gave it up for 2 weeks as part of a challenge to raise money for ActiveWater, but I realized I had a problem with it, so I decided to quit for good. I did have very little pop recently, because I was out of water and needed to drink something, and I didn’t like it. It was my first reaction as I took a drink. I thought it was gross and strange, which is really strange to me. But then on Tuesday at small group, Dr. Pepper was put right in front of me, and I really wanted it. I knew I didn’t like pop the last time I took a drink, but I was used to liking it, and I wanted it. So I took a drink, and I immediately thought that it was gross again. And you know what? I’ll probably be tempted to drink it again and end up taking a drink, and I’ll probably end up thinking it’s gross again. This may be a lifetime cycle for me.
It reminds me of sinning, especially when it’s a sin you’ve grown accustom to. You can quit sinning the same sin several times. You can even get to a point of disgust with it. You can fool yourself into continuing indefinitely with one simple thought: “Okay, I swear this is the last time.” You can also keep lapsing back into it by only remembering the very short-term pleasure it brought and forgetting your disgust and saying, “I’ll just do it a little bit, just this one time, and then I’ll go back to quitting.” How many times have you told yourself right before sinning that this will be the last time? In comparison, how many times has it turned out to truly be the last time? We allow ourselves to sin, and when the next opportunity comes up, we often tell ourselves the same lies again, and we tend to fall for it again and again. This is the last time.
It’s kind of a crazy if you think about it. Why do you think about making this the last time? Probably because the Holy Spirit is convicting you, shouting to you, “NO! Don’t do that again!” So you tell yourself (and Him) that it’s okay, this will be the last time. What you’re really saying is, “Please be quiet. I want to sin.” You blow off the Holy Spirit’s convicting you, and you proceed. I know how this goes. I’ve been through this. But then I felt the conviction turned up a notch when I said, “This will be the last time,” once. Because I felt like God’s response was, “No, let last time be the last time.”
That’s now what I tell myself when I am tempted to sin. It’s not a fool proof method, because I am strongly a fool, and I fail, but it works a lot more often than giving myself one last sinful hurrah after one last sinful hurrah. So what sin or sins did you already do one last time? Keep them in the past. Let the last time be the last time.