Prison, Sin, Freedom in Jesus, and Returning to Our Sin

“The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22 (ESV)

In a 2007 study, 48% of released Michigan prisoners return to prison within four years.  What is it about the prison life that is so appealing?  Is it the health care, not working, or the three square meals.  Whatever it is, something is wrong when people feel that it is better to be in prison than to live in freedom.

Spiritually, we often do the same thing.  Jesus frees us from our sins, yet we have a tendency to come back and wallow in the mud time after time.  New Christians experience liberation and are some of the most inspiring people to be around.  They have a no-holds barred approach to Christian.  They taste the newly found freedom in Jesus and want nothing better than to live the meaningful life that freedom enables them to live.

Each destructive habit, lazy distraction, or selfish indulgence, all of which are sin, have a gilded allure.  They appear to be what we want, but inside they are just junk and empty of any lasting fulfillment.  The sins we find ourselves struggling with usually gives us a temporary high in the short-term; that is sin's gilded allure, but no amount of pursuing the wrong thing will help us be who God knows is best for us to be in the long-term.

The recent collapse of the banking system is an example of looking at the short-term over the long-term.  The executives, and the boards that made compensation decisions, valued thinking short over thinking long.  Best-selling author of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machinewas interviewed on 60 Minutes last Sunday.  He stated:
"The incentives for people on Wall Street got so screwed up, that the people who worked there became blinded to their own long term interests. And because the short term interests were so overpowering. And so they behaved in ways that were antithetical to their own long term interests."
When Jesus came and died on the cross to save us of our sins, he did it so that we can be free to pursue the meaningful and eternal life that starts in knowing God (John 3:16, John 17:3).  We do have a better hope for the future, but focusing solely on that is missing the redemption in the now.

He's freed us, but we need to be careful to not fall into the trap that many comfortable Christians fall into.  After the initial rush of finding a freedom that is unimaginable, we find our way back to our old familiar pig pen and begin to wallow in the mud and crap once again.  We find the allure of our aged vomit.  Those short-term pleasures of the meaningless life have a gilded allure, but they will not satisfy no matter how often we indulge in them.  Long-term satisfaction comes from surrendering our life to Jesus and living in the freedom he provides.