Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:7-8
A few nights ago, Mark and I were sitting on the front porch talking about the day’s events and enjoying the quiet, cool evening. There was a delicate scent of roses in the air. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day, or so we thought.
Suddenly the air was permeated with the scent of skunk. We couldn’t see the stinky critter, but oh, could we smell him. Living at the edge of town we have often experienced the smell of skunk, but this time was different. The odor was so strong that it burned my eyes and lungs. Even after I retreated inside the smell was still strong.
Mark kept asking me if we needed to leave, but I hoped the smell would dissipate. I headed to the shower to rid myself of the smell, but even after I had showered and put on a liberal amount of powder, I could still smell that odor.
Our little dog, Gracie, wasn’t as fortunate. Somehow she got closer to our visitor. Despite having a bath, the odor lingered as it did in the house. I tried spraying room freshener, which made the house smell like perfumed skunk. Finally the smell left, that is until this morning.
Gracie and I were on the front porch when she started to bark and run toward the fence. I quickly called her back because about 30 feet away was the skunk. She obeyed, but looked at me with a puzzled look because I wouldn’t allow her to pursue our visitor. Once again we were chased back inside because of the smell.
Since the skunk is back, it is time to go on the offensive and rid ourselves of it once and for all. It is time to do something about the skunk so we can once enjoy the outdoors and not be a victim in our own home. I don’t want to be like Gracie who still suffers from the after effect of our visitor.
I thought a long time about our encounter and it reminded me of how sin can come upon us unexpectedly. As we go through our daily lives we have every intention of doing what is right but if we don’t make a conscious decision to stay close to God it is easy to stray away. In 1 John 1:6-9 we read, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Our first line of defense is to stay in the light of fellowship with God and other believers. I know in my own life being in association with other believers keeps me accountable. I am able to share my weaknesses with others so they may pray for me. I pray for them as well as they go through their own struggles.
For example, take my battle with toasted coconut marshmallows. Last week, a friend was visiting and I brought out the marshmallows for a snack. She took one and I proceeded to eat one after another. I suddenly realized what I was doing and told her I wasn’t going to eat any more and if I tried she was to take the bag away. She didn’t have to take the bag away because I realized she was watching and would know if I ate another one even though I said I wouldn’t. If she hadn’t been with me, it is possible the entire bag would be history.
Being aware that sin is out there doesn’t mean we won’t get caught up in it, In Acts 26, Paul told how Jesus sent him to open the eyes of the Gentiles so they could, “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins”. (v.18). God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us when we fail. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9)
Sin will always be around, but we can make a conscious effort to avoid it. If we allow God to take charge, He will call us back and keep us from sin and its consequences.