1 Timothy 6:11-12 - But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
All of us can remember the news reports which accompanied the hurricanes which have brought devastation to parts of the U.S. Maybe you remember the videos that were broadcast as 125-miles-per-hour Hurricane Irma approached Key West. Amongst my recollections were
• hearing Governor Rick Scott go public with an eloquent plea during which he said, "I'm asking you to get out ... I'm asking every resident of the southern Florida Keys to leave and go to safety and do it right now. Do not wait";
• I remember the palm trees flopping and falling down, signs being ripped from storefronts and flying down the street like deadly Frisbees;
• all of us saw the rows of shingles being peeled off one house after another;
• the endless lines of evacuating cars being tied up in a state-long traffic jam.
The scenes I remember most were those showing people gathering along the beaches to take selfies. There was the fellow who took a photo before he entered the water with his surfboard. Then there was the man who was bowled over by a wave as he took his defiant photo on the sand. Of course, there was the fellow leaning into the wind at a 45-degree angle ... one hand stretched out to get his selfie.
When I first saw those people, I thought those folks are playing with fire; they're tempting fate. Then I remembered all the times that I had, when the community's tornado sirens were blaring, gone outside to see if I could spot the churning funnel cloud. If those hurricane folks had played with fire, so had I.
If you think about it, people do much the same thing with sin.
For example, I can remember my 13- and 14-year-old young adults in confirmation, asking, "Pastor, how far can a couple go on a date before they're committing a sin?" That was the wrong question. And it's not just the young folks who play with danger. How many of us when we're adding deductions to our taxes ask, "I wonder if I can get away with this or that?" And if you're still feeling smug and secure, answer this: when you drive on the highway, do you set your speed by the posted signs or by how fast you think you can go before you might get a ticket?
Yes, humanity flirts with sin. And that is not what the Lord wants from anybody. He wants the people of the world to avoid sin because their lives will be better off without ringing up all those transgressions. He wants believers to avoid sin because by doing so they glorify the Savior and make a good witness to their neighbor. He wants us to avoid sin because, after we have seen the Savior's life, suffering, death, and resurrection, we will want to do all we can to thank and praise the One who gave His life, so we might have life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give us the common sense, and a solid sense of rightness, so we might give sin a wide berth as we live our lives thanking You for forgiveness, life, and salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Mark Moore for the New York Post on September 11, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries