By Chaz Oswald, 22, USA
At seven years old, I could be characterized as a typical young boy. I’m always curious.
One autumn evening, I was enjoying the company of my two best friends. While we were exploring a nearby cornfield, we stumbled upon a smoldering fire pit.
The abandoned fire pit was nearly out and all that remained was the soft glow of the cinders. Noticing a shiny object in the embers, I bent down and pulled out a piece of tin. The point at which I grabbed the metallic object seemed lukewarm at best. Out of sheer inquisitiveness (others would say boyish stupidity), I placed the tin on my forearm.
It was blistering hot! I quickly dropped the tin and what remained was a 2-by-3 inch burn on my forearm. And needless to say, my arm sizzled with pain.
I’m sure you have heard the statement: “If you play with fire, sooner or later you’ll be burned.” Literally, I had been burned. I had failed to realize that the rest of the tin that my fingers had not grasped was placed right in the middle of the heat.
Sin is much like playing with fire. It is an inviting temptress. It lures us to ignore the hazard signs and to walk up to its doorstep. We are tempted to make excuses and reason away the potential harm. We think to ourselves: “No one will know I’m twisting the truth. No one will know I’m viewing Internet pornography. No one will know I had one too many glasses of wine.” So we give in to the lust of the flesh.
However, sin is a deceiver just as I was deceived by the cool edge of the burning tin. In the beginning, sin looks, and may even feel, fun. Sooner or later though, the sin we flirt with will devastatingly sear and destroy whatever lies in its path like a spark to a dry forest.
Though resisting sin’s temptation is never easy, God promises a way out. He said, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13). But the premise is this: Don’t ever think that you are strong enough to resist the snare of sin on your own.
Eugene Peterson paraphrased 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 this way: “ These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”