Once Johnny Cash started taking pills to help his singing performances, it wasn’t long before Cash was gobbling ten or more uppers every day. When touring in south Texas there were frequent side trips into Mexico, where a doctor’s prescription for what he wanted was unnecessary and he could buy all the pills he wanted. His wife, Vivian, sensed they were dangerous from the start. When Cash was home, she’d get up early in the morning and find him sitting there haggard and bleary-eyed after staying up all night furiously writing, singing, and committing songs to tape. She urged him not to take the pills or at least cut back, but he didn’t want to hear it and blew her off.
The pills changed his behavior, and led him down the road to increased sin. But Johnny’s basic good nature continued to shine through when not under the influence. He committed random acts of kindness, often giving money to strangers in need. Hearing about a fan who traveled a long way to see him perform and who had neither provisions nor a place to stay, Johnny staked him to a hotel room and gave him meal money. Or catching someone in a grocery store who was short on money, Cash would pay their bill. Such things endeared him to family and friends, but unfortunately also made ignoring the telltale signs of addiction easier for them.
Johnny was living what the Apostle Paul talked about in his letter to the believers in Rome when he wrote, “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge” (Romans 7:21–23 MSG).
1. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Romans 6:12–14 NLT)
Does God care about what we do with our bodies and what we put into them? How can we use our bodies “for the glory of God”?
2. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13–15 NKJV)
What is always the ultimate outcome of giving into temptation?
3. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6–7 NKJV)
Are you a person who gives to others freely, generously, and cheerfully?
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