Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Years ago, when we vacationed in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, we used to enjoy doing more biking than we usually had time for. It was a fun challenge to ride those ten miles around the lake - well, sort of fun. There were those long downhill stretches. Oh, what a feeling, sailing effortlessly down those hills, the wind blowing in our faces! And then came the uphill climb. Yep. And man, that was grueling, sometimes it was downright painful. And guess which lasts longer - the downhill rush or the uphill grind?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Downhill Thrill and the Uphill Bill."
It was my son who reminded me, actually, as we collapsed at the top of this particularly grueling hill. He said, "You know, Dad, this is a lot like sin." He's right. We had a great time sailing down the hill - but it didn't last long. What did last long was the price we paid for that brief thrill - grinding and groaning our way going up the next hill.
In our word for today from the Word of God, we call King David as a witness in the case of the downhill thrill. He has had an adulterous fling with another man's wife, a woman named Bathsheba. And it was probably pleasurable. The Bible never denies the pleasure of sin - it just insightfully describes enjoying "the pleasures of sin for a short time." (Hebrews 11:25) David describes the uphill grind that follows the pleasure in Psalm 51. We'll just focus on one verse - Psalm 51:3. "I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me."
See, sin never advertises its inevitable aftermath - the unshakable memories, the long-lasting consequences, the tortured conscience, the damaged or broken relationships. "My sin is always before me." It's not the pleasure that's always before him - that was brief. It was the pain of sin that was always before him. Ask David, "Was it worth it?" I know what he would say - he basically wrote it in his writings. "No way! Too much pain for a short-lived pleasure. You pay much longer than you play."
Well, you may be experiencing the downhill thrill of sin right now. Maybe that sin is sexual or the short-lived satisfaction of getting even. Or maybe you're in a good situation that you've come into dishonestly, or you're violating God's boundaries with your body, or you're nursing bitterness or anger, or getting what you wanted by compromising.
Please listen to my warning. The uphill bill is coming. You cannot stop it. It's a law of the universe. It's called the Law of Sowing and Reaping. "A man reaps what he sows," the Bible says. (Galatians 6:7) No loopholes - no exceptions.
Right now you may have the good feeling that sin gives you - like a biker speeding down a long hill. It's easy to go with just what you can see and what you can feel now. But the thrill isn't worth the price tag. This moment won't last - the loss, the pain, scars, guilt, the consequences, the judgment may last a lifetime. So, take it from an aching biker. The downhill thrill just is not worth that uphill bill.