Saturday, September 24, 2011
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
After going a year without hiking and biking due to serious back issues, I've enjoyed returning to my favorite hobbies. I've heard lots of horror stories about back surgery, but my surgery in the Spring has been life changing for me. Saturday has become my regular biking day again. I have been loading up and heading down to one of my favorite paved trails to ride, but today, I just didn't feel like the extra effort. I got my bike down, did my regular once over on it, and just started riding from my front yard. I went down my street to a nice, long, easy ride in a low traffic area with some nice scenery. What usually keeps me from doing this is a lack of a leash law in the county and dogs chasing me and ruining my ride. Just a couple of scraggly mutts chased me today and I easily outran them.
I noticed something on my ride. In the road I saw a turtle that did not make it. His shell was crushed and his remains lay right in the middle of the road. Here is one of God's creations that has a great natural defense - he can just pull his head and legs into his shell and withstand the attack of almost any predator. However, that same defense does not work extremely well against the tires of a pickup truck or even a compact car.
When that little turtle went out today, he had his full armor on. However, he chose to venture into territory where that armor would be ineffective. I'm not sure he really knew how much trouble he was even in as he slowly made his way across the road. Suddenly, he found himself crushed by the enemy.
I wondered, do we sometimes go into places where, despite our spiritual armor, the enemy is destined to crush us? You see, if we step outside of God's will, if we venture into areas that he has not called us to go, then we are in grave danger. How far behind enemy lines do you have to go before you have sealed your own fate? I think about the way we sometimes gear up, but leave God behind. We think we are good. We think we can handle just one drink, or just one toke, or just one glance, or just one snort, or just one lap dance. Then...WHAM! Totally crushed. Sin slams into you like an 18-wheeler and smashes you.
I'm not saying the armor of God is incapable of saving you. Ultimately the helmet of salvation can withstand all kinds of damage. However, that does not mean you need to go out seeking a concussion. It struck me again as I was playing Halo today, trying to take out a massive Scarab that was decimating friendly forces. As I rushed into the midst of the fray with no thought of caution I was crushed by the enemy. Even the Master Chief in all his armor and with all his strength can bite off more than he can chew. Even with all our armor on as Christians, we should always be mindful of where we are venturing and what we are doing.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The ants have come late in the season this year. Over a period of a couple of weeks the ants have built several forts in my yard. My six year old daughter, Hannah, told me I needed to do something about them earlier this week. I told her that on Saturday, we would go ant hunting. On Saturday afternoon, I slid on my gloves, grabbed a container of my favorite ant killer, picked up a small shovel, and Hannah and I went on patrol.
She was my spotter. When she saw an ant hill she pointed it out. We had everything from small ones to one that was the biggest I have seen yet in my yard: over two feet wide and then some six inches or more tall.
I have a method when I hunt ants. Today, when Hannah pointed them out, I'd flip the switch on my spray can and say "Weapons hot!" Then she would say, "One, two, three FIRE!" That's just the results of growing up with a dad that spent 20 years in the Navy and watching and reading too much military stuff. So first, I would hose the hill down. Then I would take my small shovel and dig it out. Then I'd hose it down some more. We must have destroyed over a dozen ant hills.
I've found it's very important how you destroy ant hills. If you don't dig them out, if you treat just the surface level, the ant population springs back. Me and my fellow warrior dealt harshly with the ants in our yard today. "Small ant hills become big ant hills," I taught Hannah. She understood. It was important to wipe out even the little ones before they grew into something bigger.
I realized sin is the same way. Sometimes we just treat it at a surface level, but deep down inside, sin is carving catacombs and breeding more and more, greater and greater sin inside of us. In fact, those "sin hills" lead to the construction of even more "sin hills". Before you know it, you are infested with sin. Small sin becomes big sin.
You can't really show any mercy when dealing with ants. The only good ant is a dead ant. You can't really show any mercy when dealing with sin. The only good sin is a dead sin.