14-15 “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. These desires give birth to sinful actions. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
James 1:14-15 (NIV)
I used to hate coffee. Just the smell of it made me want to gag. But over the years, I grew from a non-coffee drinker to a cup a day (or sometimes more) drinker. I started with the frou frou drinks at Caribou. I would get only one shot of espresso in their medium turtle mocha (instead of the standard two shots). As time went by, on days when I was really tired, I opted for both the shots. But I still did not consider myself a coffee drinker.
When I moved to Ohio, there was a conference I had to attend which meant late nights and early mornings -- and free coffee. I figured it was free so I would experiment and try to doctor it up so I wouldn’t taste the coffee in my coffee. A few weeks after the conference, I noticed that I had been drinking a cup of coffee every day. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I remember asking myself, “How did I get here?”
So I decided I didn’t need it, it was just something I wanted. I only had one cup a day, so I wasn’t addicted. Or so I thought. The week that followed was rough! I read a website that listed symptoms of caffeine withdrawal and I was experiencing many of the symptoms.
How did I get from being a non-coffee drinker to a coffee addict? The simple answer is slowly. Slowly over time, my body became accustomed to the caffeine and it wanted more. My body needed it every day to function “normally.” Athlete, this is so much like sin. Most things don’t just happen overnight. They start small and slowly grow into something that cannot be contained. You grow into a person you don’t recognize.
Satan is crafty. He is conniving. God said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). Sin is crouching. It is hiding. It is waiting for the opportune moment to pounce. It entices us and then drags us away. It’s like Satan is setting a trap. It looks all glamorous and glorious. At first, it’s not a big deal, but before we know it, we’re wrapped up in something we never thought we would be involved in.
This is why we need community. We need people in our lives to see the slippery slope we’ve stumbled upon when we don’t even realize we’re on it. We need a select few who know everything about us, who we can be vulnerable with and who will call us out with love, grace and truth.
Be careful of sin. It is everywhere. It is enticing. It is waiting.
Prayer to consider today: Lord, protect me from sin. Open my eyes to areas where I am blind and can easily slip. I want to live a life that will glorify You. Give me the strength to listen to the nudging of Your Spirit when I go off course. Give me the courage to bare all to the close friends You have placed in my life. Thank You for them. Thank You for how they encourage me, challenge me and love me.
Reflect: Who are the people in your life who know you -- the good, the bad, the ugly, and who will challenge you if you are not living a godly life? If not, ask God to bring friends like that into your life, or ask God how to find those people.
Challenge: Write out areas of your life where you know you are especially susceptible to sin. Ask the Lord to reveal areas you may be blind to and talk with close friends. Pray for protection over those areas.
Outreach Challenge: Ask three people how you can be praying for them this week and pray for them each day.