I saw firsthand the effects of sin this week. And it has not been enjoyable! Sin is never enjoyable.
Many years ago, nearly 40 years ago, my mother gave me a lesson in raspberry patches. Mostly my lessons involved the picking of the ripe fruits of the vines. We picked red berries and purple and black ones. We picked berries from a couple of different patches. We picked on the edges of the grove. We wandered in and found more berries conveniently planted for us by the birds! Then we picked out the trash and bugs. It was quite the process and later I introduced my boys to the joys of picking. During berry season, it is at least an every other day and sometimes daily job. If you decide to skip a day or two, then the berries get over ripe and are not good. And I learned that raspberries need to be trained and pruned. Today, I wish that I could have the help that I used to have, for now I am missing it a lot. This week I knew that berry picking was going to occupy a lot of my time. I never realized just how much of my time would be occupied! Occupied with picking and then "PICKING"! Picking berries I enjoy even though it makes my back hurt. But the other "picking" is no fun at all!
Sin entered my week. Some sins are small. They don't seem too bad. Maybe they can be overlooked. After all, there are much bigger things that also can be called sins. Things much more important and dangerous. Such as the evil we saw happen this week near Chicago. What an unbelievable horrible thing to happen to innocent people. That crime was definitely SIN! Sin is often obvious, and I just want to run away as many people did this week. But sometimes sin is disguised, almost pretty and also seemingly small. As small as a bug.
In the latter part of June, I noticed that there were Japanese Beetles starting to show up when I was in the garden. They are kind of pretty. Just as sin can be attractive and they are small. They, the sin bugs, were quickly disposed of by my fingers! I gave them the pick and pinch treatment. Not very many people can say that they like these bugs. I am one that does not. They are definitely unwanted. Just as with sin, often we think it is just a small bug, a small sin. I can handle it. I can make it go away. I know better, I do not want it in my life. I know that this sin is not going to cause me a problem, I just will resolve to not do it again and say I am sorry! All will be made good again. I can do this!!!!!!!
And so, I decided that if I was diligent, I could make the Japanese Beetle sin go away! I could take care of it by myself! Therefore, I resolved to give every bug a pick and a pinch. I can do this!!! I will pick and pinch them all and eventually the bugs will be gone! If I was diligent, I would eliminate the problem--the sin!!! But I could not! The sin was more than I could handle. It was time for a different technique. In years past, putting out a white bowl of water caused the beetles to commit suicide! That trick does not work for me anymore. Just as Satan must try harder to get us when we seem to overcome his temptations. He just goes for bigger and "better" ways to tempt us into SIN. The beetle problem has become a very large problem. And every single beetle has at least 100 or more friends and cousins and they each have another 100 friends and cousins and so on. The little sin bug had become overwhelming.
I figured out that if drowning had worked in the past, it should work now. I can do this! I can handle these tiny little sins that are disturbing me so much. They are eating away at my berries. They are destroying the leaves and plants. They will cause my fall harvest to fail. And they will not stop at destroying my raspberries. They have moved on to the asparagus and the rhubarb and I know that they will move on to my roses and to my beans and the fruit trees. I need to stop/eliminate them now! I know how. I just need to get busy and take care of the problem! It will take some effort, but I CAN DO IT! I am not going to ask for help! So, for several days, twice a day, I took a bucket of water and knocked every bug I could find into the water to drown. And it worked! Every bug that ended in the water ended up as chicken food. It made the chickens happy and made me happy. Well, almost happy. One night a night animal tipped over the bucket before they were all dead! And also, no matter how many I managed to knock into the bucket, there were just as many the next time waiting to be knocked into my bucket, again! They are objects of my wrath and despair. Just as my sin is subject to the same anger and wrath of God
And it had become a personal attack. But I couldn't defeat the attack. The enemy was winning. I had mistakenly thought I could conquer the sin myself. But NO!
And then Salvation was offered!!! A bug trap that all the bugs/sins would flock to and collect and ultimately die! With no effort on my part. Of course, I wanted that salvation against sin. I was tired of the fight--the never-ending fight to eradicate sin. The sin was always there, reminding me of my feeble efforts to eliminate it all by myself. Someone else had provided the way out of my misery. What a relief! I no longer have to fight the battle against sin alone. I am so, so, glad that God has promised that I don't have to fight my battles against sin, alone. You, too, don't have to fight alone!!! Thank You for my Salvation God, and Jesus my Savior!