Today tiny icicles hang from the swing-set like clear beads dangling from a lampshade. Every tree, every fence post, every rooftop shimmers like glass. On a nearby hill, the tall, slender white pines bow toward a stand of silver struck maples. They take up a graceful dance to the wind’s eerie music. They clatter like a string of Christmas lights hitting the hardwood, their limbs encased in icy coats. I don’t ever recall seeing or hearing anything quite like it. It is both intriguing and eerie. I wonder how many branches will break under the weight of the unwanted burden.
It’s strange how something so beautiful can be so destructive. We don’t get many ice storms here but we dread them far more than blizzards. They take down more trees, break more power lines, and make travel much more difficult than most blizzards. The best course of action is to stay home, if possible, and pray for warmer temperatures until the danger passes. But staying home is not always an option. So when I must go out, I go prepared… dressed warm, driving cautiously, and alert to any potential dangers.
Sometimes the most destructive sins are wrapped in the most beautiful packages… like those ever-tempting chocolate Easter eggs wrapped in lovely pastel foil. They are on display everywhere I go. So I just keep buying them, and I just keep unwrapping them, and I just keep eating them one after another. In case I haven’t mentioned it, you should probably know I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat, but hate what gluttony does to my body and soul.
I keep breaking under the unwanted burden of my sin-bent. I dance to the music of temptation and am subject to its destructive forces because its allure is so compelling for me. Unlike cigarettes or alcohol or gambling, or any number of addictions, you can’t quit food cold turkey (and live to tell about it). You have to learn to eat with self-control… to eat the right foods in reasonable quantities. Since I am powerless to escape the icy bounds of sin on my own, my best course of action is to stay out of the stores if possible, (isn’t there something in the Bible about fleeing temptation?) and pray for the longing to pass.
But staying out of stores entirely is really not an option. So when I go, I must go prepared… dressed in my spiritual armor, my mind renewed by truth, and alert to potential temptations. I repeat Paul’s words “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:27) and “all things are lawful for more, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (I Corinthians 6:12) I must continually renew my mind with the truths from scripture so my freedom from sin, will be expressed in my day to day choices… evidence the truth has transformed my heart. Then I can dance to the sweeter tune of life-giving obedience.