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cropped-rose-4.gif1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”

Last summer while working in the garage, I heard this constant humming that seemed to be coming from the rafters above.  Putting up a ladder some distance away and climbing to the top of the ladder, I noticed an object shaped somewhat like a basketball.  Wow!  It was the biggest hornet’s nest I had ever seen.  I knew it had to come down so armed with a can of hornet and wasp spray (a can that shoots over 25 feet), I engaged them in battle.  First, I sprayed at the hole of the nest and once that was filled with the foam I continued to spray starting at the top until the whole nest was covered.  Surely nothing could have survived that … so far, I hadn’t been discovered and I thought I was home free … and then like a streak of lightning, down came a few that had escaped the deadly spray.  Coming down the ladder as fast as I could, I fled the garage, but not until I had been stung a few times.

My beloved, and so it is with sin! However, the way to keep from being stung is to stay far from it. The world around us is littered with the mangled lives of men, women and children who never intended to get stung by the enticements of the master deceiver. Satan will use some seemingly harmless pleasure and disguise the ugliness of sin with something that looks or sounds appealing. They only wanted a closer look at the shiny colors of some forbidden sin, and when they had succumbed to the temptation, he catches them in his trap.

(1) What about the husband who never intended to lose his family, but decided it was okay to flirt along the boundaries of adultery; now he pulls himself from the ruined wreckage of his marriage.

(2) Or the teenager who never intended to seriously use drugs or alcohol, and saw no harm in experimenting; now their life is twisted and disfigured by addiction.

(3) There is the woman who was willing to skim a small sum each year from her company, how could just a few dollars be wrong? Because she was tired of driving an old Ford when all her friends were in BMW’s. She never intended to end up in jail.

(4) Or how about the man whose moral restraints finally gave way as a result of that first “harmless” peak, only a quick glimpse, at the pornographic images available on the Internet. How far does this go he wondered? In the months that followed and before he knew it, he was dragged faster and further, than he ever thought possible.

(5) In the darkness of Friday evening rush hour, you’re in a hurry to get home and not thinking about allowing others into your lane. You are still upset because you can’t get over. A small SUV/minivan comes on the Interstate and has no place to go except in front of you. With already having tensions of not making it in time to where you are going, this vehicle causes you more stress by making you slow down. You honk furiously but that isn’t enough. You decide to “blind” them with your bright lights as the anger starts to boil inside of you. The angle at which the bright light hits is a perfect match for the driver’s mirror.

The driver is blinded and cannot see. Your mission is accomplished. You start feeling better but some of that anger is still there prompting you to honk. With the driver already blinded, the startle of the honk causes the driver ahead of you to swerve. The minivan/SUV goes off the road and disappears from sight. You don’t think much about it as your frustrations have lifted. The next morning, there is a story on the news of how a minivan full of a father, mother, and five children died in a crash off the Interstate. Ironically, it’s the same spot where you saw that vehicle go off the road. The one that was started by the honk; the one that was blinded by your lights. You never saw the side of the minivan. But pulling the wreckage from the river, you notice it… It was the youth group at your Church.

Closing thoughts:

It is even more important that we do all we can to prevent Satan from harming us spiritually. For us to ignore the prescribed protection, which God has made available to us found in the book of Ephesians, is to ask for trouble. Nobody is temptation proof, even mature believers in Christ.  Thus, spiritual victory comes to those who are prepared for battle. With God’s armor, we can stand and stay protected. Don’t get caught without the armor of God.  Here’s a powerful, but life saving thought. Sin never fulfills its promises. It will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and make you pay more than you could ever afford. So, don’t try to see how close you can get to sin without getting into trouble; but rather, see how far you can stay away.  Listening to the warnings of God’s Word, and don’t forget the pain of your past mistakes.  Learn from them and if you do, you’ll avoid being stung again!

Satan tempts us to get the worst out of us; God test us to get the best out of us.