A cycle is something that is repeated over and over again. A vicious cycle is something that contains evil or unpleasantness while repeating over and over again. I came upon a vicious cycle as I was reading the scripture this morning.
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior,” (Colossians 1:21). I’ve seen it happen in people I love but I hadn’t noticed Paul’s succinct statement about it before.
I’ve seen people proclaim their faithfulness to God and Christ for years and then be tempted by the evil desire residing within each of us. I’ve seen them dragged away and enticed, allowing the desire to conceive and give birth to sin. (James 1:14-15) I have been that person many times, and many times a day recently. At this point God’s grace can lead us to acknowledge our sin, repent, and value anew the grace of God which forgives. We can confess our dependence upon God’s grace for the power to obey.
If we choose to continue in the sin, when it is full-blown it gives birth to death – the death of relationship with God.
Which comes first in this vicious cycle, enmity in the mind or the choice to continue in sin (evil behavior)?
If the mind has chosen to disregard God the result is the absence of any effective moral compass, no real reason to deny ourselves the legitimate pleasures of sin. If we thought we had regard for God but then are “overcome” with desire for forbidden fruit that we determine is more desirable than right relationship with God, rationalization results in enmity within our mind. One leads to the other, leads to the other, leads to the other.
A vicious cycle, indeed, if it continues – leading to eternal death. That soul demonstrates it was never transformed by saving faith.