Collateral Damage

So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16:2 NKJV)

I teach my daughter that actions have consequences. Any decision that we make has a consequence; be it good or bad,  intended or not, our choices do affect others. As the title of this weeks message might indicate, while we are talking about consequences they are not the positive kind but the unintended kind, the damaging kind.  Collateral Damage is defined by Websters Dictionary as: Any damage incidental to an activity. What we are talking about here are unplanned and often times unintended effects or results of our actions.

When giving thought to this topic, clear examples present themselves: The person out for a night on the town who has had too much to drink; his actions  will have consequences and possible collateral damage. Let’s assume the consequence is a DUI  that comes with a suspension of licence and some time spent  in jail. On the surface, one might think that all of these punishments affect only the guilty party and at a glance, they would be correct. What happens to the guilty party at work after conviction? Dependant on the type of job they have, they could take a demotion or lose their job completely. What affects could that have on their department? Could there be collateral damage absorbed by his family? That is almost without question. All of these unintended consequences; this collateral damage was caused by a seemingly innocent decision to go out for a night  with the boys which in and of itself is not a sin. The sin comes at the moment when the needs of the flesh were placed ahead of obedience to God and His commandments. When we give in to earthly desires that are not the will of God instead of living in the spirit, There are consequences. “I say then: walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16. A quick word study of the word “lust” gives us a clear understanding of the message being communicated. The Greek word for lust is Epithumia it denotes strong desire of any kind. That is vague. After all, with this definition, lust could point to a positive need or desire and it does; three times in the new testament – that is all. The three positive references are: Luke 22:15, Philippians 1:23, and I Thessalonians 2:17. Everywhere else lust has a bad sense. In Galatians 5 lust is used to describe the soul’s natural tendency towards evil.

In Genesis 16 Sarai gives into her lust for a child. And in reality who can blame her? After all, the Lord had promised she and Abram a child and, to this point, He had not delivered. Sarai makes the mistake that is so easy to make; holding God to our timetable. After 10 childless years Sarai resorts to an accepted practice of the time, a practice accepted by the world, not by God. She sends Abram to her servant Hagar that she might conceive for Abram an heir. Instead of trusting Gods promise, Abram commits a sin by listening to the worldly counsel of his wife. It would have taken amazing courage to stand opposed to her and stand on God’s promise. As a result of Abram’s sin, Ishmael was born to Hagar and later, as God promised, Issac was born to Sarai. The resulting jealousy and bitterness felt by Sarai toward Hagar and her son (collateral damage of Abram’s sin) ends in Sarai demanding that Abram banish Hagar and Ishmael from the camp to live in the wilderness (Genesis 21:10).

When we walk in the flesh of man and not in the spirit of God, that decision will, more often than not, affect people other than ourselves. How do we avoid this? By spending time with God. Think of it in terms of the trainer and the trainee. If we are the trainee’s it is our job to learn from the trainer. The only way we can do that is by spending time with them and learning their trade. The ultimate trainer is Jesus and He wants to train us, to show us what He desires for our lives. We learn His will by spending time in prayer, in the word, and in fellowship with other believers. By doing so, our hearts become pliable in the potters hands. “But now O Lord your are our Father; we are the clay and you our potter; And all we are the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV).

Grace and Peace,


*If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, email me at and let me know! I will be happy to lead you through what the bible says about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.*


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