“Side Effects”

Most everyone has seen the ads for a new medicine on TV or in print media.  The ones that are hard to pronounce and tell you to ask your doctor if this could be right for you.  However, if one reads the small print, the side effects are really scary.  It might produce infections, liver or kidney damage, dizziness, hallucinations, paralysis and many others including death. To be fair, any new medication has to go through many clinical trials lasting months or even years.  The side effects are limited to a very small percent of the total population.  Nevertheless, there are risks one has to weigh before deciding whether this medication is, “right for me.”

During a Christian’s spiritual journey to eternity he or she will encounter many situations that will demand a choice.  One must weigh the short range benefits against the long term outcomes. Satan is the master of counterfeit and subterfuge, (2 Cor 11:14) as are his servants. (v 15) He has always used subtle lies to attract the gullible, unwise and apathetic “client.” (Gen 3:1-7)  He sells his exciting “medicine” of sin by touting the short term qualities of pleasure, (2 Pe 2:13) (Heb 11:25) popularity and wealth. (Ja 2:5-7)

The manufacturers of new medicines are required by law to publish the possible side effects of their products, albeit in very small print, right along with the ads.  Satan and his servants have no such disclaimers nor restrictions.  He doesn’t tell the new drinker of alcohol of the embarrassment and addiction that may occur down the road.  The Bible does. (Tit 2:3) (Pr 23:20-21) (Isa 28:7) Satan doesn’t warn of the consequences of illicit sexual behavior.  The Bible does. (2 Sam 12:9-12) (1 Cor 5:9-11) (Eph 5:3-5) (Rom 1:26-27)

Of course there are many other “products” (sins) that Satan peddles such as illegal drugs, materialism, gambling, violence, and many others.  They all appear glitzy but are sold “as is” without any “buyer beware” sign.  The side effects are harmful and often spiritually fatal.

Whereas, the merchandise the Holy Spirit offers is free and innocuous.  He gives believers “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23) In other words, no hidden agendas and with only wonderful side effects. 

                                                                     –Jim Bailey