James 1:13-15 – When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (NIV)
I always knew when there were elk in the yard. My young daughter would be standing silent, still as a statue, watching out the window.
Truly, elk are magnificent creatures. A grown male, resplendent with a mature antler rack, is a marvellous sight to behold. Tall enough to step gracefully over our three-foot-high picket fence, one would often enter our yard to partake of our bushes and flowers. Munching close to the house, their antlers would tap ominously against the glass pane, causing me to hold my breath until they moved away.
Once satisfied, they would lower themselves to the ground for a snooze or rest and placidly gaze at their surroundings.
Too often, however, unsuspecting and foolishly bold tourists would spot these tremendous beasts. Camera in hand, they would open our front gate and walk right up to the elk, snapping away, without a care in the world. Little did they know how unpredictable the lovely but dangerous elk could be. A wrong move, and the naive tourist would be toast! One swift kick with a hoof or swing of a rack and disaster would ensue. Fortunately for them and for us the watchers, the elk in our yard endured such foolish ignorance. Each tourist lived another day to tell the tale.
Many people, however, are not so fortunate when they foolishly flirt with sin. Dabbling in sin can come about through disobedience to the Word of God or by being ignorant of the Scriptures. Wilful disobedience to or ignorance of the Word can cause sin to appear beautiful. It beckons us to come and partake of what it offers: wealth, love, stability, hope, and pleasure. Yet when these things are not of God, they lead only to danger and even death. Wealth gained through dishonesty never prospers its owner's soul. Love which is not ours to partake of, belonging to another, is simply theft. Stability at the cost of our moral principles leads to destruction. Hope based upon anything but the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ is nothing short of despair and eternal death.
Christ warns us through His servant James not to be tempted by sin. So if we see "elk" in the yard of life today, let us beware. All that appears beautiful and pleasurable may not be safe. Let us search the Scriptures, know the Word, submit our wills to Christ, and be enlightened. Humbly fleeing to the safety of Jesus now is everlastingly better than being ensnared by evil.
Prayer: O Lord God Most High, quicken our spirits within that we might hunger and thirst for the knowledge and understanding of Your Word. Strengthen us in our innermost beings that we might desire in all things to obey You. Open our eyes to the danger and temptation of sin, that we might flee from it and find refuge and safety in You. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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