Earlier this week, a wasp flew in my office. He had made no appointment, and considering previous episodes I’ve had with wasps, he was not welcome.
He quickly landed on my bulletin board hanging on the wall and crawled behind it. Fearing he would fly out unexpectedly, I concocted an elaborate two-part plan. First, I would swat around the bulletin board to get him out. Second, when he was in view, I would swat him down. So I rolled up a magazine and did as such, but no wasp came out to fight.
After about five minutes, I realized this wasn’t working and proceeded with my day as usual. Before I left the office, I turned around to look out the window behind me and my enemy sat cunningly on the window sill. Somehow he had sneakily made his way behind me. I was trying to eliminate a threat in the wrong place, when it was behind me the whole time. The problem was closer than I thought.
Did you know that sin is just like that? Sin has a way of sneaking behind you without notice. Many times, you’ll never see it and it lurks close behind you when you least expect it. It is easy to be, “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:3).
Sin conceals and even misrepresents itself to trick us into thinking that there is no threat. The great preacher and commentator, Matthew Henry, summarized sin’s deceitfulness well when he said, “It appears fair, but is filthy; it appears pleasant, but is pernicious; it promises much, but performs nothing.” Further, sin will seize every opportunity to deceive you (Romans 7:11). We must be on guard against sin by studying and memorizing God’s word (Psalm 119:11), and by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16).
Something else to consider is that we often try to eliminate sin by focusing our efforts in the wrong place. Sometimes we aim at the act instead of the heart. Jesus made this point clear in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught, for example, that murder comes from anger and adultery comes from lust (Matt. 5:21-30). To be sure, our outward acts of sin are displeasing to God, but sin begins in our hearts (Matt. 15:19). When fighting our sin, we need to focus our efforts on our own hearts.
So, what is the lesson here? We need to be aware that sin is much closer to us than we often think. And yes, this pastor strongly dislikes wasps.
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.