Outnumbered

When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:15

I don’t know about your yard, but everywhere I look, I see little maple seedlings. You know, those little seeds that spin and twirl through the air on their way to covering grass, flower beds, roofs in a blanket of off-white snow? The eaves are full, the porch is covered and it’s still snowing! Our cats sit in the windows, entranced by the whirligigs, as we call them. As inspirational as nature’s helicopters are, our maple trees produce thousands too many; each winged seedling hoping  to embed itself in yards, flower beds and grow up to be giant maple trees one day. And if left alone, reproduce a forest of maple trees forcing us out of house and home. Can’t let that happen so before long the back-breaking work will begin. I will be uprooting the little suckers before they set up housekeeping and push their thirsty roots deep down in the soil making it more difficult to extract them.

Norway Maple tree seeds.

Maple tree seeds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is there a spiritual application here? You may or may not agree, but perhaps these tiny one-winged airplanes resemble sin at first blush. They are little, cute, innocent, beckoning,  and fun especially if shared with friends. But let’s not be fooled by the enemy who seeks to destroy each one of us by “simple” sins. Most sins start out as tiny, even insignificant, controversial “gray” areas of debate or little white lies. It’s still sin, but it sounds so innocent and unworthy to be called sin, especially when prefaced by two words, “little and white”. The language implies, “Don’t worry. What you are doing can’t be considered sin. Just relax.” But the devil, the prowling lion, never relaxes his grip. Once we are caught in his web of deceit it doesn’t take long before we are tangled so tightly that it requires great effort to break free ~ much worse than digging out a maple sapling that has spread its roots deep into the soil.

Often we make choices that entice us into sinful habits. We may even convince ourselves that what we are doing is not really bad and is winked at by whoever is our higher power. But we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). The God of heaven is crystal clear about sin. He leaves no wiggle room.

The Old Testament for instance, is full of stories about those who sinned and punishment swiftly followed. These stories exist for our understanding and growth as we struggle to navigate dangerous waters in our individual lives. We can learn from them and choose to follow God’s leading instead. Our sins may be hidden from our view, but they are not hidden from God. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?

Such strong language makes us stop in our tracks and ponder our next move. We have been given freedom to choose, but within that freedom is a built-in guideline. There is a fork in the road. Which way will we choose? The narrow way is curvy, rocky and often laced with trouble, but ultimately leads to eternity. The other road is wide,  gently sloping, and pleasant, but ultimately leads to our demise. Death. This blue marble we call Earth, has God’s eyes roaming it; always searching to draw us to Himself where He extends forgiveness and pardon for our sins and a freedom we cannot know if we choose the easy road.

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