Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Like a Moth to a Flame

 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11

Many of us who are trying to live a Godly life, are frustrated by our inability to stop sinning. We realize that our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and that we are forgiven. However, we still have trouble putting away what the Apostle Paul calls "childish things."

Let's be honest for a moment. If you think about it, there is some sin that you can't seem to let go of. It may be as simple as gossip, or as damaging as pornography. It may be as problematic as an addiction to alcohol, or as innocent as a "white lie," for "someone's own good." Too much television, wasted time infront of a video game, or overeating are all examples of things that many people struggle to keep away from. We know these things are not good for us, and we feel guilty for returning to them, but we seem to be driven like a moth to a flame.

A good example of this is Keith Coggins. In 2001, Keith was 19 years old. He decided to rob Stockmen's Bank in Kingman, Arizona where he made off with about $2000 in cash. He wasted no time spending it. He threw a party, and bragged to his guests about his sucess in the holdup. However, in about 18 days, that $2000 was gone.

Since it was so easy, the first time, he decided to rob it again. This time, he went for the vault. He got away with over $72,000, but never got a chance to spend any of it. A police officer recognized the getaway vehicle, and arrested him shortly after the robbery. He was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to both robberies.

Robbing the same bank twice in a three week period is bad enough. However, that is not the end of the story. Mr. Coggins was released from prison in 2005. He maintained a low profile until this past January. On January 13, 2011, Mr. Coggins made his way into the same bank branch. He was wearing a black ski mask, black gloves, and black clothes. He demanded money from the tellers, and left with an undisclosed amount. There was a fifteen minute chase, before authorities caused Mr. Coggins' truck to wreck. They found him hiding behind a rock, and recovered all of the stolen money.

Mr. Coggins has been tried since then, and will spend the next 10 years in jail. One detective who worked on the first arrests in 2001 said, "I'll be darned, He didn’t seem to learn much did he? And he surely didn’t get any better at it.”

We seem to be the same way when it comes to our sin. We don't seem to learn much, and we certainly don't get any better at it. We keep doing the same things over and over. We ask God to help us stop, but we don't do much to try to help Him out. Peter writes in his second epistle about this problem. Hie writes, "the proverbs are true: “'A dog returns to its vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.'"

Many times the sins we seem to struggle with the most are reallly bad habits. For many of these, we don't need divine intervention, we need to get our will under control. We use the fact that we are all sinful as a crutch to give us an excuse to not quit.

Jesus defeated sin on the cross and we are forgiven. Because of that, we have a responsibility to refrain from wallowing in the same mud that He has already washed away. Do whatever it takes to walk away from sin, and ask God for the strength, wisdom and will power to stay clean.

I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth  while in the presence of the wicked.” So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: (Psalm 39:1-3)

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