7/16/09

summer camp and vomit

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."

If you have worked with teenagers for very long at all, then you know all about the post-camp spiritual high. In my context, there is a Neshoba County Fair in late July, and it is always a week or two after youth camp. I have conversations with students every year who feel close to God at camp, but fall into partying and drinking and sin of all kinds at the Fair. One church in our community (at the students' request), is planning a youth trip during the Fair this year to avoid its pitfalls. I think that is admirable (didn't Joseph run from the temptation of Potiphar's wife?).

So how do we deal with the world, when dealing with the world means being tempted by sin? There are a few things to remember.

Sin is fun, but not for long.
Being drunk leads to hangovers. Sex often leads to disease, loneliness, or unexpected pregnancy. Smoking is murder on the lungs. Drugs are both addictive and deadly. So why does anyone sin? Because it's fun. It's not the smartest long-term move, but it is still fun. See Hebrews 11:25.

For the Christian, sin brings a feeling of guilt.
It's the Holy Spirit's way of helping us to see right from wrong. See Isaiah 30:21. It also helps to remember the oh-man-I-should-not-have-done-that feeling of frustration BEFORE we choose to do wrong.

We need to be "in" the world but not "of" the world.
We live here, of course. But we don't have to be like everyone else! See Hebrews 11:13-14. This world is not really our home; heaven is. And we should be spreading God's love (which leads a person away from sin) all around while we're here while not letting ourselves be dragged into sin. See Jude 1:23.

It's not okay, but it can all be made okay.
Hebrews teaches that blood must be shed for sin to be forgiven because it is such a violation of God's holiness. But God is so very eager to forgive us. He's just waiting with open arms to tell us that everything is going to be okay. See Colossians 2:13-14 and 2 Peter 3:9 .

Remember, God loves you and so do I. Have fun, but take Jesus along with you!