Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Hard Lesson to Learn

     Our five and a half month old puppy "Murphy" has been learning some things the hard way and in the process, he has demonstrated a biblical truth.  Due to his beautiful soft long hair, he is a walking magnet for every sand burr to be found by the side of the road.  When we go for walks, it is not unusual for him to bring several of these prickly hitchhikers home with him.  As a result, I have to spend time trying to get them out of his hair so he is comfortable again.  It is not a fun job, but a necessary one.
     Then, over a week ago, Murphy came face to face with the biggest scare of his short life.  He loves to snoop around the dishwasher when it is open.  Licking dirty dishes, if he can, is a sport for him.  This night, however, he got one of the tags on his collar caught in the bottom rack and when he pulled away, he took the entire bottom rack with him clattering and banging to the floor.  Pots and pans banged and all the wheels flew off the rack as Murphy dragged the rack halfway across the kitchen.  Poor baby, he was frightened and managed to get away from that scary dishwasher rack.  I found him hiding under the end table.  Needless to say, he has not gone near the bottom rack of the dishwasher since that time.  We had a good laugh as nothing was broken and our puppy was just fine.
       When I thought about these two incidents, it made me think about sin and how it wants to stick to us just like a sand burr.  All we have to do is be near enough to a sin for it to latch on to us.  Our old flesh wants to rise up at the sight of temptation; so we fly too near the flame of desire and often get caught up just like Murphy.  Hebrews 12:1 reminds us:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"  We can only throw off sin with God's help and assistance.  All we have to do is repent and the Lord Himself will remove the sting that comes from a fall.  He is the Good Shepherd who binds up the wounds that sin leaves when we repent.
     In the second instance, Murphy got in trouble with the dishwasher because he got too close to the rack and got caught by it.  Isn't this the same thing we do from time to time?  Sin looks inviting.  At times, we want to investigate it and get a little closer.  However, when we start to contemplate it and get too close, we also will be caught like Murphy.  Then, when we try to pull away, we end up carrying some pretty heavy baggage with us, and sin is not quiet.  There is no easy way to escape as Murphy discovered.  Yet, God has given to us the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter, Teacher, and Guide into all truth.  If we lean on Him and heed the Word of God to us, we will not fall into the sin
to begin with.
     As believers, we have freedom of choice.  We can either entertain sin or refuse to go near it.  This was true for Cain.  After God rejected Cain's offering, Cain went away angry because his brother's offering was accepted.  The Lord spoke these words to him in Genesis 4:7:  "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."  Cain chose not to listen to the Lord, and he killed his brother.  For the rest of his life, he was a marked man never able to avoid looking over his shoulder and wondering if someone was coming for revenge.
     Another example comes when David fell into sin with Bathsheba.  He could have gone to war as other kings did, but he chose to stay behind.  When he saw this beautiful woman, he again did not have to let it lead him to sin.  We know, though, that David committed adultery and eventually murder.  Yes, David repented but the sword never again would depart from his house.  There were consequences for his actions.
     Dear Ones, we do not have to choose a path filled with burr
type sins that can cling to us and make it tough to be rid of them.  Likewise, God does not want us to snoop around sin like Murphy checked out the dishwasher rack.  We can avoid both of these by putting ourselves under the Shepherd's care.  If we do fall, He will pick us up when we repent and call upon Him.  May we be comforted knowing that we need not walk in these paths.  Certainly, Murphy learned his lesson and is careful to avoid the dishwasher at all costs.  Let us follow his example and flee sin.  Selah!

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