Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sharks, lions, and bears oh my!!

In 1975 my family vacationed in Ocean City, NJ. That was the year the infamous movie Jaws was released. I recall my dad responding to his children’s pleas to watch that movie with “If we go see this movie, you WILL go swimming in the ocean tomorrow!” As a wise father he knew the fear that would likely grip each of our young minds as we entered the Atlantic the next morning with new knowledge of what may lurk just beneath the surface. We went and saw the movie that night and did, in fact, swim in the ocean despite our newfound fears. Since then, I have never entered the beautiful depths without the ever-present awareness of row-after-row of razor sharp teeth that could seal my doom at any moment.
As humans, we have a well-deserved fear and respect for sharks, lions and bears because a ghastly death is possible if not likely if we attempt to occupy their territory. We seem to instinctively know, if not learned from paranoid parents and the Discovery Channel that these carnivores will, if given the opportunity, devour us causing an agonizing death. It is directly due to this rightly placed fear that we avoid certain times of the day in the ocean, hang our food high in a tree when camping and don’t meander through the Serengeti without a rifle.
Unfortunately, we often do not hold that which can destroy our soul with the same reverence and awe. We habitually play like a child with reckless abandon in places of this world that we should, and in fact very likely know are fraught with dangerous sin traps, lifeblood sucking pitfalls, and God distancing temptations. We haphazardly enter Satan’s lair convincing ourselves that it will be okay this time, God wants us to, we can resist the temptation and help others, grace abounds so why not, and various other falsehoods. But the truth is, shark’s teeth are created to shred meat, lion’s claws are designed to slice and hold its prey, a bear’s power is prepared to overcome the weak, and sin exists and will consume the unwitting and foolhardy soul that dares come hither.
When will we understand? When will we grasp the darkness of our soul to scamper from the light? When will we desist playing with fire and discontinue blaming others when we get burned?
God and God alone has the power to overcome our sinful desires. We are truly a moth mesmerized by a flame flickering in the darkness. The difference is that we, unlike the moth, were given a conscious, a soul, and the ability to cry out to the living Savior so that we may avoid our deserved demise.
God asks “When will we realize sin is and always will be a machine of sorrow, emptiness, misery, and death?” Choose life, peace, joy, comfort and glorifying the Creator rather than the creation.
Run to the Savior who does love you but cannot ignore the sin that so easily entangles you. Do not give strength to your sin by counting on personal willpower but instead on the power of the Holy Spirit to free you from the bondage of death.