The leaders in our scout troop recently returned from a wilderness survival training session. During one of the sessions, the instructor told a story about a woman who kept a 12 foot albino Burmese python as a pet. Initially, it lived in a contained environment, but as it grew and the owner became more comfortable with it, she eventually let it have free range of the house and even let it sleep in the same room with her.
One day, she noticed that her pet had stopped eating, consistently refusing its favorite meals. Concern for its health, she loaded the snake into her car and took it to a vet who specialized in exotic animals to see if someone could determine what was wrong with her python. After hearing the owner describe its symptoms and giving the snake a quick check-up, the doctor advised her to euthanize it immediately since this was perfectly normal behavior…. for a constrictor that was preparing itself for a large meal! Yikes!! The reality was that the snake was planning to eat its owner! (or at least TRY)
I admit I know nothing about snakes or the validity of this story, but true or not, this creepy account carries a powerful message for believers who have invited sin into their lives thinking that they can safely cohabit with it indefinitely.
No matter how much you become accustomed to sin, rationalize its existence, and even treat it as a familiar and welcome member of the family, there just isn’t any way to tame it and make it subservient to you. And even though it may seem convenient, comfortable, even useful;
It is not your friend.
It is not harmless.
It is not submissive.
It does not benefit you in the long run.
It is not your companion.
Romans 6:23 is clear that “the wages of sin is death.” And James chapter 1 is very clear about the innate nature of sin, reminding us of the ultimate destiny of those who live with unbridled desire. Verse 14-15 say “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.” Every time you allow sin to take up residence … whether in your actions, attitudes or in the hidden recesses of your thoughts… you invite the process of death to begin. And the longer you harbor, feed and care for it, the more dangerous it becomes.
The same remedy the veterinarian prescribed for the python’s eminent threat is good advice for us as well. Paul said it this way in Colossians 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” and in Romans 8:6, he gives us this warning and hope. “if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
So take a moment to look around your spiritual household with fresh eyes. Search every corner and crevice for areas of disobedience and compromise. Think about what you’ve invited and welcomed into your life that has the power to complete devour everything good and beneficial.
Then, listen to the counsel of your Heavenly Father. He loves you and, like any loving parent who desires safety for his children, commands us to throw these things out! It’s an effective way to show devotion and dedication to your Savior, and it’s for your own good!