Dear Soul

One of our problems as sinners is that we too often listen to ourselves rather than speaking Truth to ourselves. Yeah, that's right, I'm encouraging you to talk to yourself.

The psalmist practiced this "soul talk" often - Psalm 42:5, Psalm 103, Psalm 104, Psalm 116:6-8 and Psalm 146:1.

Recently, I was cleaning out my desk drawer and came across the letter below. It's a letter my friend wrote to himself - to his soul. I had asked him for a copy (and his permission to post it). The context is pretty obvious - he was battling the temptations of sexual sin. I found it very helpful to read to myself - to MY own soul, reminding myself of the dreadful consequences of sin.

I trust you'll be encouraged by this.

Dear Soul,
I’m writing to warn you as strongly as I can not to sin. I know you well enough to know the areas where you’re most likely being tempted. Be careful not to think only about externals; your primary temptation is to think wrong thoughts about God, to stop worshiping Him and start worshiping yourself instead.
Why would you do this? First of all, it will hurt you. To continue on in sin this way is to invite God’s discipline. It will rip apart your family and lead you to sin more and more. Do you really want a divorce? Do you really want steps two and three of church discipline? Do you really want to stay enslaved to a false god which can only make empty promises? Is it your desire to remain perpetually disqualified from ministry? If your answer is “No,” then why would you do it?
Not only will your sin hurt you, but it also will hurt your wife and children. Think of your sweet wife. She’s flesh of your flesh and bone of your bones. She’s the only woman in the world who took it upon herself to love you and work to become one with you. To give in to your temptation is to spit in her face, to trample on her trust, to harm her heart. You would never say the words, “I hate you,” to her, but your sin in effect says it for you. You promised to be faithful to her, and you’ve broken that promise before. It made her cry. Do you really want to tear open the wounds that have started to heal? Worse yet, do you want to so callous her heart that she becomes cynical, bitter, and angry? Why drive her away for your own self-interest? Why nurture an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility? Why make her obedience and growth in Christ more difficult for her than you already have?
And don’t forget your children. They need a dad they can look up to. They need to know what a man who follows God looks like. Be the type of husband and father that you want your daughters to marry someday. Be the man you want your son to be. How can you fulfill your responsibility to teach and lead the family in worship if you are not right with God? How can you expect them to submit to your discipline if you are undisciplined yourself? You know others whose families have been torn apart by divorce. Do you want to end up seeing your children only on two weekends per month? When you drive home, your children run to the car to greet you; you wouldn’t trade that for some passing pleasure, would you? Wrestling with them on the floor, tickling, kissing them goodnight, reading stories to them, memorizing Scripture with them, waving goodbye when you leave for work…all of these would be gone if you continue down Selfishness Lane.
But the most serious reason not to sin is because it’s an offense to the holy God of the universe, the One you claim is your Lord and Master. He who made you can just as easily unmake you. Do you not fear the King’s displeasure at your disobedience? Your Provider could withhold His blessing and make your life miserable! He promises that if you cover your sin you will not prosper. You don’t think He doesn’t see you, do you? He does. He is the righteous Judge. He not only sets the standard, He has kept it perfectly in Jesus. It’s because of sins like you’re being tempted to commit that Christ died. Will you continue in your sin that grace may abound? May it never be! Fear Him; that is, bow before Him with holy reverence and healthy dread.
And love Him. Love Him more than your pleasure, more than your very life. Don’t be pleased so easily. Pursue the One who has pursued you. Cherish the One who cherishes you. Glorify the One to whom all the glory belongs. Treasure Him who is more valuable than all the fleeting pleasures of sin combined. Be God-centered, as He is God-centered. Worship the true God, not your deceptive heart’s self-erected idols that can do nothing for you. Be so enthralled with your Savior and His Word that the mere thought of sinning is repulsive to you.
That’s all for now. Don’t do it, Soul. Don’t sin.
But DO love your wife, love your children, and, above all, love your God.

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