1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

I'm afraid of drowning. I would even call it a phobia because sometimes I have nightmares about going under. In these nightmares I'm swimming in dark, cold water and am suddenly yanked beneath the surface, where I sink down into the dark, deep water. And then I wake up in a sweat.

I think of drowning when I study the life of King Saul. First this guy goes down when he makes a boatload of wrong choices. He comes up gasping for air, but then he goes under with pride and arrogance. Then his heart hardens and sinks. And the third time under, he's gone.

Not long into Saul's reign he made some serious mistakes. In 1 Samuel 15:3, God gave him a clear directive: "Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." But Saul disobeyed. He took the king of the Amalekites, Agag, alive and also spared all the choice livestock. 1 Samuel 15:9 says, "Saul and the people...would not utterly destroy them" — not did not or could not or even forgot to, but would not.

What God directed to be a righteous act, Saul turned into a self-oriented, perverted piracy. He twisted God's righteous directive into a cattle-rustling campaign: kill enough people to steal their goods. God's name was profaned and Saul got the People's Choice Award.

We don't even have to wonder where Saul's heart was. When Samuel confronted him about his sin, Saul became pretty pitiful in his attempt to rationalize his actions. Surrounded by incredible evidence, Saul refused to admit his disobedience.

But according to Jeremiah 17:9, our deceitful hearts excuse away our sin too. Surrounded by evidence of my own sin, I wonder how often I act like Saul.

The Bible says we all fall in many ways (James 3:2). God sticks a mirror in front of us, most often through His Word, and says, "This is what you look like." The question we need to ask ourselves is, How do I respond when my sin is pointed out to me? Our answers to that question reveal some of the most critical information in how we relate to God.

When you find yourself sinking in sin, reach for the life preserver. Go immediately to God. Go the moment you feel convicted. Be very specific about your sin and be very broken by its severity. Turn to Him in sincere repentance and you'll see God welcome you back into relationship.

This could be your moment right now.

—James MacDonald