How easy is it to skip reading the Bible? Prayer? Accountability? Fellowship with other members of the Church?

I believe the answer to these questions can show us a lot about ourselves and our walk in Christ. The seduction of self, of others, and of the world is great. Not often do the powers of this world storm into our lives with guns blazing; we would notice right away if something was up. Instead, in a more deceptive and cunning pattern, we are slowly-but-surely drawn away from the narrow path of the Lord’s truth.

Just like in Eden, it all begins with entertaining a thought: “What if…?” Then, we mull over it and think of ways to act it out. “Maybe if I…” Soon, we justify our behavior to ourselves and our thoughts become reality. We already have something planned out to say as a reason/excuse as to why we did/didn’t do something, just in case anyone asks us. After a while, this becomes a behavioral pattern. Too late, we find ourselves unrecognizable, scrabbling desperately at the bottom of a black hole which we slowly slid into because we weren’t careful enough to guard against the first crack in the sidewalk. (“Watch and pray,” anyone? Matthew 26:41, Genesis 4:9?)

I was thinking the other day about how easy it would all be. It would be cake for me to live sinfully. To give into the flesh 24/7 and to completely live my life for me would be painfully simple, because nothing wrong is really beneath me. At my core, I am a sinner who is addicted to the allures of this present darkness. I am not “too good” for anything. 

The mosquitoes around my house are terrible this summer. Afterbite is a common item in my medicine cabinet these days. Like sin, however, mosquito bites take time before we realize just how bad they are. The extent of damage isn’t fully revealed until later when we suddenly see a huge, swollen red lump that commands our attention and cannot be hidden no matter how hard we try. Sin doesn’t fade away after a week, though. If left unchecked, James warns, “sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death” (1:15). 

Paul laments in Romans 7:24, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Our bodies are doomed. There is no way out, humanly speaking. We are subject to death.

BUT, because of the blood of Jesus, death doesn’t have to touch us. There is a cure for this ravaging ailment. God rescued us by sending his own son to die. By his wounds, we are healed. “Thanks be to God,” Paul says, “who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:25) Yes! This is the antidote, the ultimate “afterbite” against the allure, the temptation, the death and destruction of ourselves. Thank you, loving Father, for your cleansing and forgiveness; otherwise, I have a frightful idea as to where I could be found. 

Realizing where I could be without redemption moves me to live a life that seeks to glorify and give thanks to my Savior. I look to him.