“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15, New King James Version)
Embarrassing moments. Ever have one? Let me tell you a story about one of mine.
A few years ago, a group of us met twice a month for prayer and Bible study. This particular evening, I would host the group. You can imagine my dismay when shortly before my friends would arrive, I found an uninvited visitor in my kitchen. A little field mouse had apparently made its way into my garage and then into my house. I had no traps and no time to run to a store to buy any. (And no hope a trap would work that quickly.) My visitor was now hiding somewhere behind a cabinet, but that didn’t mean he would stay there. I could just imagine him taking a run along my counter top while my friends watched.
I quickly developed a plan. I usually set out some type of dessert and beverage in the kitchen where we would snack and chat for a few minutes. It was all rather informal and gave us time to catch up with each other’s news. But tonight, I planned to move everything into the living room, turn off the kitchen light, and keep everyone away from a chance encounter with the mouse.
It didn’t work! At all!
First, Nancy needed a glass of water. (“No, no. Don’t bother. I’ll just get it myself,” she said.) Norma insisted on carrying her own plate to the kitchen. And so it went. Before the evening was over, it seemed everyone had some reason to go into my kitchen. I never heard a scream, so I assume my other visitor stayed out of sight. Or my friends were just very polite.
Hidden things. Little faults and failures that would lessen our “perfect” image if others knew. Things we hope they won’t discover. When no one “screams,” we feel our secret is safe.
Sin is sneaky—just like that mouse. My unwanted visitor no doubt squeezed into my kitchen through a small crack or opening. They don’t need much space to get in. Or perhaps I left the door to the garage open just a moment too long while carrying in groceries. Sin is much the same. It takes just a tiny bit of space for it to sneak into our lives. It may have been just a small matter that tripped us up and left the door ajar. We let down our guard—just a little. Certainly not enough to really matter. Right? But Hebrews 3:13 warns that sin is deceitful. Satan knows all the tricks and whispers all the right things to soothe any uneasiness we may feel.
Even if my friends never saw the mouse, I knew it was there. I could have left it alone. After all, it wasn’t that big. We could coexist. But no! I recognized I had a problem and headed to the hardware store the next day for a mouse trap. The same is true with “little sins.” Why ignore them and open the door for an even bigger infestation? Little compromises, little lapses in integrity, little sins lead to bigger and bigger problems. It’s time to find a mouse trap.
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NKJV)
Christian, walk carefully, danger is near!
On in your journey with trembling and fear;
Snares from without and temptations within
Seek to entice you once more into sin.