A young boy named Jimmy loved to spend his summer days fishing. Every morning he would hop out of bed, pack a lunch, head into the woods to dig up worms for bait, then sprint to the water to catch as many fish as possible. Often, he would have a difficult time finding worms. One day he hit the jackpot. Under an old stump he found the ground filled with little creatures which he immediately grabbed and shoved in his pocket. As he headed towards the pond, he felt a stinging sensation on his leg. At the pond, Jimmy pulled out a worm to bait his hook. Once again, he felt a stinging sensation, this time on his hand, but in the excitement of the moment he paid no attention to it. After a while, Jimmy had an armload of fish. As he happily hurried down the road to home the sheriff, driving by, decided to congratulate Jimmy on his great fishing. He was about to say something when he noticed Jimmy's hands were red and swollen.
Sheriff: "Jimmy, what kind of bait did you use today?"
Jimmy: "I found a whole nest of worms under an old stump, sir. See how big they are?"
The sheriff immediately grabbed Jimmy, threw him in the car and sped off to the hospital, but before he could arrive, Jimmy died. It turned out that the 'worms' that Jimmy thought was a lucky discovery were, actually, baby rattlesnakes. If Jimmy had stopped at the first sign of pain and noticed what was happening, his life could have been saved. But instead, he ignored the warning signs because he didn't want his fun to end, and he paid for it with his life. It was a deadly mistake.
This is how it is with sin. We often think that we can play around with sin and not get bit. Listen to what God says: "...you can be sure that your sin will track you down" Numbers 32:23 Refuse to acknowledge your disobedience to God and His commands, you will pay a price. You may get away with things for a while, but eventually the poison of sin will pollute and destroy your life.
The Bible teaches us that "the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23). That means when you sin, something dies.
There is no way to not be affected by our sins. This is why we must avoid sin, even hate it. Sin kills everything that is good in us and around us. Anytime you sin, in thought or action, something will die. God warns us over and over and over again to avoid sin like the plague.
Many are 'fishing' for happiness in life with poisonous snakes on your hook and deep down you know that you are being bit. If you tolerate sin in your life, that sin will not only take you farther than you wanted to go, it will keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and it will cost you more than you thought you'd pay. We must go to God and come clean before it is too late.
King David is called "a man after God's heart", but even though he followed God the majority of his life, he entertained sin that destroyed his life and family. It started with a lustful look at a woman, and ended with marital unfaithfulness, murder, betrayal, and heartbreak. David hated his sins. If only he felt the same way about sin before committing them as he did afterwards! I think the same is true for us today.
King David wrote Psalm 51 after he realized his sinfulness. Let me paraphrase it for you…
God, give me your grace! wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt. I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down. I've violated your law and your trust, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts in front of you. Whatever you decide about me is fair. I've been out of step with you. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Create in me a new, true life. Transform me I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life. Tune my heart to hear you, help these broken bones to dance. Don't look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, create this from the chaos of my life. Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home. Exchange my death sentence for salvation, God, and I'll sing songs of praise to your life giving ways. Open my mouth, dear God. I'll let loose with words or praise and worship. Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned to worship You when my pride was shattered. My life is ready for Your love. This won’t escape Your notice.
It is a lot easier to see the sin in others before we see it in ourselves. In fact, I think that what we hate most in others, are the sins we are guilty of committing ourselves. That's why Jesus said: "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye." (Luke 6:41-43)
It's time for all of us to take a hard look at our lives, figure out where sin has dug in and threatens to kill the life that God wants us to have. Today, make a list of all the sins that drag you down the most. Think about how you get into those sinful circumstances in the first place. Decide what has to change to have victory over sin. You may need to stop going online in private places, you may need to end a relationship that's dragging your relationship with Christ down, you may need to place politics and culture in its proper perspective, you may need to stay away from certain places and apps. These may be difficult. It is better, however, to do this work than what will happen if you don't make these changes.
Okay, enough from me. Consider these things. Now head out there into that world and minster well.