• David Osteen

Deprivation Leads to Depravity

When we are deprived of things that we want, it often leads to depraved behavior. “Depraved” means – marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper or good. Take for example a young child. A parent may deprive a child of something that the child wants – a candy bar for example. Be-cause of the child’s immaturity, naivety, or lack of training and/or discipline the child may begin to exhibit explosive behavior. We might call it a “temper tantrum”. Regardless of what we call it, it is depraved behavior. What is good behavior is to accept, respect, and honor the parent’s decision by behaving properly and civilized (Ephesians 6:1-3).

But this is not just the case with things that we want, but also with things that we need. Consider the man who has a family to feed, and yet because of economic conditions he has neither food nor resources to obtain food. What might he do? Good behavior would be to find any work he can either to buy or barter for food (Ephesians 4:28; II Thessalonians 3:12; Proverbs 16:26) However, sometimes men turn to depravity and steal by cunning or by force (Proverbs 1:10-19). Thievery is depraved behavior that has consequences (Exodus 22). And we see the principle of deprivation leading to depravity bore out in real life application in that when economic situations are more dire, there are more bank robberies and crime. Deprivation leads to depravity.

However, we must realize that the principle applies as importantly to our spir-itual lives. A child that is “deprived” of being raised by parents that will “nurture and admonish in the Lord” is more likely to grow up and live a life of depraved heart, speech, and/or conduct (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 23:13-14). Likewise, when Christians deprive themselves of the faith-building word of God (Romans 10:17), it will lead them to spiritual depravity expressed through immorality. When Christians deprive themselves of the strength-building and nurturing body of Christ (the Church) (Ephesians 4:16), then they are more likely to be overcome by weakness and more susceptible to spiritual depravity.

We can also consider the husband-wife relationship and see how God so clear-ly lays this principle out for us. (I Corinthians 7:5) If a spouse is deprived of marital relations then that is likely to lead to sexual immorality – depravity. If a spouse is withholding, or defrauding, their significant other, then they bear a part of the blame in contributing to an environment of committing sexual immorality. Their deprivation helps lead to their spouses’ depravity. This is not to say that one is responsible, or will be judged for, another’s actions (Romans 14:12; Revelation 20:13; Matthew 16:27); but to show how we can influence depravity in others by withholding that which is right. The one will be judged for their sexual immorality, and the other judged for their “defraud”ing.

And so, we must make sure that we are not depriving ourselves, or creating an environment of deprivation, lest we succumb or lead others to depravity (Philippians 2:15; Romans 14:13). We must be holy, which is accomplished by filling our lives with the knowledge and word of God (I Peter 1:13-25). We must be strong, which is accomplished by filling ourselves with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:14-25) We must be steadfast, which is accomplished by filling ourselves with faith in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58). We must fill our-selves with the word, hope, and love of God. Let us not deprive ourselves of these things, so that we may not be deprived of the kingdom of heaven for all eternity! (II Peter 1:1-12)

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