But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1: 14-15 The Basic Bible Truth
We are called to flee from all forms of sin. But that goes against the natural bent of our sin nature. We would much rather be like the cow in the pasture, pushing and testing the fences to see how far we can go and still not get hurt. Sin is deadly and causes harm wherever it is tolerated. We must remove ourselves from even the slightest indication of iniquity. Barny Fife on the Andy Griffith Show years ago, when talking about a problem they were facing, told Andy that they should “nip it in the bud”. Good advice for dealing with sin. To “nip it in the bud” could be as simple as fleeing from the sin when it initially presents itself, rather than waiting awhile for it to grow into something much more sinister.
A Large Poster Board One Black Magic Marker
This lesson is taught while drawing a picture. Well, it actually starts by NOT drawing a picture. Let me explain:
When I left home to come here, I heard my wife call my name. So I stopped and asked her if she needed something. She shook her head and simply told me, “Do not draw the picture. It will be nothing but garbage.”
After 42 years of marriage, I must admit that my wife does indeed know me pretty well. She knows how much I love to draw, and she knows that when I do, I always draw garbage. I know that, but I just can’t help but think that she night be wrong just this once. I try not to draw garbage, I plan my pictures out so carefully to avoid the problem of garbage, but it always seems to show up in my art and it is frustrating. I so wanted to draw a picture for you today, but I understand my wife’s concerns, and have chosen to follow her advice. Today I will not be drawing a picture. Garbage is hardly an appropriate subject for us today.
Although I did bring the materials with me, I fully intend to not use them. For example, this sheet of poster board paper. This is a very nice piece of paper that I do not want damaged. You will notice how clean and white it is, with no creases or tears. I laid it over here while I am talking to you, but now that I see it laying there, I wonder if I should have maybe put it up here on the wall so that it won’t get damaged accidentally. If I just take some tape and pin it right here out of the way, it should be fine now. And it looks nice here. We can all admire it together. Pity that it doesn’t have a picture on it though. I know, I know, I promised my wife.
I also brought this black magic marker. I am partial to Expo brand markers. They seem to be the best and are packaged nicely like this one. What you may not be aware of, and this comes from my years of handling them, they are actually very nicely balanced. They have a very nice weight ratio as well. See how they fit my hand so nicely, and the balance is superb. You don’t have to grip them very hard to retain control of them, especially when drawing with them. But, again, I do not plan to draw anything today.
You can plainly tell, as I roll the marker around in my hand, that I am in complete control. I have absolutely no worries regarding this marker. Notice it is black in color. I like black; it leaves a nice contrast with the white of poster paper. And the engineers at Expo thought ahead far enough to make the cap of a black magic marker black in color to avoid confusion. As you can plainly see, the cap seals very tightly to the body of the marker. This keeps the marker tip from drying out and becoming useless. With a gentle pull, the cap comes off and reveals the nicely formed chisel tip end. See how one end is pointed, allowing for fine lines, and by simply rotating an additional 180 degrees, you get a wide tip for the bold lines in your picture. Place the cap back on for storage and the marker will last for a good long while.
The design allows the cap to be pulled straight off like this, or with a twisting move, it removes nicely this way as well. Put it back on, pull it off, on, off…as many times as you could possibly need to. And with a marker this small, I remain in complete control of the situation. And that’s good because I promised my wife that I would not draw a picture.
You see, my wife doesn’t always understand my self-control. But I do, and I know my limits. See, I can take the cap off and leave it off for quite a while, with no problems. In fact, I can wave this marker around in the air, with no issues. Even with the cap off and waving through the air, I am still in complete control. And on top of that, look how close I can get to the poster paper and still no problems. Here, watch this, as I get to within inches of the surface of the paper. Nothing happens. My wife is so worried about such little things.
I’ll bet you’re wondering how close I can get to the paper and not leave a mark. Well, watch this. I lay the heel of my hand right here on the poster paper, and hold this marker about an eighth inch away from the surface with no issues whatso…..uh oh! That left a mark. But it’s tiny, and you can hardly see it, so it shouldn’t matter at all. After all, it isn’t like it’s a picture or anything. Maybe I could erase it and make it go away like…uh oh! Now I accidentally left a longer mark over here. But, see, that’s not my fault. It was an accident. Everybody makes a mistake now and then. And it certainly is not a picture by any stretch of the imagination, so, I’m just fine with my promise to my wife.
You know, as I step back and look at it, it might be less noticeable if I made a matching mark over on this side to balance things out. I was right, it does look balanced now, and after all, that is important, too. And then if we added a mark or two here, it would be even more balanced. Now that I see it, I like it with all of those marks. It reminds me a bit of a picture I drew once, but that was long ago. And this is certainly not a picture. It’s just lines on a paper, so I’m technically still ok with my promise. I will not draw a picture of garbage.
Those random lines are missing something, but I just don’t know what it is. It doesn’t look right that way. I wonder if…don’t you think that helped? I do. Connecting them like that was a good choice and it looks so much better this way and then we could add a little up here and it begins to be an even better looking…I’m not drawing a picture, this is just lines…very random things…hey, I wonder if I did this…now that looks a bit like a sunrise...if I adds clouds in this area…maybe some birds…oh, and look here…here is a beautiful tree…it’s growing out here in the background…I like what I see here, don’t you…I mean just look at this beauty in this…let’s make it an early morning sunrise with some misty vapors rising up into the sky and then we add an overlooking cliff here in the foreground to make this a spectacular view so that everyone coming to this spot can enjoy what they see with the sunrise and the tree and the vapors and the birds and the…look someone left a couple of things here when they visited last, but they are minor, you hardly notice that one, or this one, or this one, or this one that looks like some crumpled paper or something and maybe we could give this place a name. It needs a sign, like this one pointing the way to the overlook. I know, lets call it the Davenport Unique Municipal Park. What a beautiful name that is, and we can put it on the sign so that everyone visiting can see where they are and…uh, oh…it won’t all fit on the sign…well, you and I know what its full name is, but we can at least put the initials up on the sign. D.U.M.P. Wow that is really, really beau………………it’s………………it’s………………it’s garbage, isn’t it! My wife was right. She knew I had a problem and I just wouldn’t listen. Once again I have drawn a picture and it is nothing but garbage. Maybe some day I’ll learn?
Let me ask you something. Where did I go wrong? At what point did I set myself up for failure? Was it when I added the DUMP sign, or was it when I started drawing all of this stuff, or was it when I made my first mark, or was it when I kept playing with the magic marker, or was it when I pinned the poster up on the wall, or did my problem start when I brought all of these materials here tonight? I should have left everything at home, shouldn’t I?
Sin works much the same way in our lives. We know what is wrong, and yet we drag it along with us thinking that we have the necessary discipline at all times. We play with it just enough to think that we have total control over it, and then, in a heartbeat, it turns on us and sucks us down into a vortex. We attempt to explain or excuse our actions, but an honest look is needed to realize, we are only fooling ourselves. Flee from sin, don’t tickle and play with it like it’s an innocent little kitten. It’s deadly. It doesn’t care if it hurts you—and it ultimately will win. Every time.