There is an old secular song which seems to keep popping up here and there whenever I am on the internet lately which says this:
Can’t Help Falling in Love
By George David Weiss / Hugo E. Peretti / Luigi Creatore
Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you?
The words to this song may seem fairly harmless on a surface read, but when we dig into their meaning we see several pitfalls. The first one is that the person is ignoring wisdom and going with what is foolish. He (or she) is following his emotions, his flesh, and it appears he is following his sensual desires, too, rather than exercising wisdom or while ignoring wisdom.
The second is that real love is not something we fall into and out of. And that is because love is not what we feel but what we do. Love that is of God prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, just, pure, honest, moral, and upright, and love does no harm to its neighbor. It is not selfish, thinking only of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, but it considers what is best for others.
The third pitfall is that the person knows that the direction he is headed is wrong, otherwise why toy with “Shall I stay? Would it be a sin?” He knows what he is contemplating doing is wrong, for the indication here is that this is about staying to have sex, although one could take it another way. But he is talking himself into doing what he knows is wrong, and for the fulfilling of the lusts of his flesh, for “falling in love,” which is not real love.
So, there is the temptation to sin, the ignoring of wisdom, and the toying with the temptation, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” There is the battle of the flesh, the following of emotions, the giving in to fleshly desires, and the falling for the “wisdom” of the world instead of following the wisdom of God. And then there is the disregarding of the other person for selfish pleasure.
Sadly, what this describes here is not just what is being practiced by the ungodly, but it is being practiced by many who profess genuine faith in Jesus Christ. They are ignoring God’s wisdom to follow after their flesh, instead.
Psalms 36:1-4 ESV
“Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.”
Sadly, as I said, this describes many who profess faith in Jesus Christ not just many who do not know Jesus. Although they profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they have no fear of God. They ignore God and his commands in order to go after the lusts of their flesh. For they do not revere God. They do not love, honor, respect, or value him, but they value their own flesh.
So, when they are tempted to sin, they are more likely to give in to the sin because they are able to sin without conscience. For they have seared their own consciences through repeated offenses and through repeated ignoring of God and of his commands, and through repeated refusals to submit to Christ as Lord and to let the Lord deliver them from their sins.
But it isn’t just that they are tempted to sin, and then that they give in to the sin, but they premeditatedly sin against God and others. They plot evil on their beds, and then they carry out the evil, often times putting their cover stories into place before they even commit the plotted sin so as to make it appear that they are doing something other than sinning.
They lie ahead of time and after the fact to cover up their sins, hoping that no one will know, and that no one will find out what they have done. But God knows. And if they are married to anyone with any amount of discernment, their spouse knows, too, although he or she cannot prove it. They just know their spouses patterns and body language.
Those who are living this way, in sinful addiction, cheating, lying, stealing, committing adultery, abusing, using others, manipulating, playing mind games, gaslighting others, plotting evil on their beds, making excuses for their sins, and blaming others, are living to please their flesh without regard for who they hurt in the process, because it is all about them.
Psalms 36:7-9 ESV
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.”
Jesus Christ, when he died on that cross, gave his life up for us that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life for us on that cross. For, he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God.
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self died with him that we might no longer be enslaved to sin but that we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness.
Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are given the opportunity to be free from our bondage to sin, to no longer live under sin’s control, but to now walk in victory over sin, by God’s grace, and in His strength and power, and to walk now according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
Not one of us has to be trapped by sin. No one professing the name of Jesus should still be living in sinful addiction, still repeating the same sins over and over, plotting evil on their beds, planning out an evil course, ignoring the wisdom of God, ignoring the hearts of other humans, committing repeated adulteries against their spouses, and then making excuses for it all.
For, Jesus died to set us free from all of that. Freedom is ours for the taking if we will surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness by His grace, and in his strength and wisdom. But many have convinced themselves that such freedom eludes them or that it is not necessary because Jesus forgave them all their sins.
But there is no other way to live other than in the arms of Jesus, trusting in his love and grace, relying on his strength and wisdom, submitting to his will for our lives, and doing what he commands us to do. There we will find perfect peace and freedom from bondage to sin and empowerment of the Spirit of God to live holy lives, pleasing to God.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer observes, “Nothing can be crueler than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community