Friday, October 10, 2008

Dangerous Beauty

Although some would disagree, California does have a slight change in the seasons. The other day, my wife and I were hanging out and I was admiring this beautiful tree off our deck. 
There are these beautiful red leaves crawling up like a vine. It made me want to get all Tarzan-like and crawl off the deck to swing from the tree. I thought it was so beautiful. Then my wife chimed in,"That's Poison Oak." (Or for those biology geeks and horticulture fanatics: "Toxicodendron diversilobum.)

Wow. I  never would have never known. If I did follow my chest-beating/thong wearing tendencies, I might have ended up like this. I was completely ignorant. Since she's a California native she's wise like that!  Of course it made me think how careful we must be in living our lives.  It's our responsibility to be aware of what's going on around us, live life intentionally, and obediently if we are following Jesus Christ. This means we must know God's word. We are welcome to use excuses, but that sometimes won't stop the consequences. It's like sin. It acts like our friend and then quickly betrays us. Sin is deceitful. That's why we fall into it. We know it may be only temporary, and it may have negative consequences, but we do it anyway because we want to, we think it's beautiful, tastes good, will relieve pain, and won't really hurt us. And ultimately because we are willing to forego the results for immediate satisfaction, we suffer.

Like eating a whole bag of potato chips or a a box of Krispy Cremes (oh, yes, I've done this). 
Like clicking "just once" on a sexy, computer image pop-up. 
Like pursuing a woman (or man) for a quick, non-committal, good time, one night "hook-up."
Like thinking we can handle 3 drinks when we should stop at 2.
Like fantasizing about the new employee at work.
Like hanging out one on one with someone who doesn't share our convictions.

It can "just happen" in an instant. We do something that we regret. Even things that we thought were good or beautiful. And sometimes these little things, can lead to more things, bigger things, and dangerous/unhealthy things. 

We are all susceptible to sin,  the dangerous beauty. But thankfully we have God's grace (Titus 2:11-13 ) which teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Just like the Poison Oak, sin can creep into our lives like a vine, looking beautiful and inviting. It can come in a pill, a person, or a thought that lingers too long.  That's why knowing God's truth and sharing friendships/life with trustworthy, God-centered people is a priority. 
We need people who can point things out, share truth, pray, and partner with us in life to protect us from being deceived into sin. I shudder to think what would have happened if my wife didn't call out that botanical bully. Thanks to Wendy, I'm not rashy right now. 

Who's the "Wendy" in your life that you go for help? (And you don't have to be married to have someone like this!) Who's the "Wendy" in your life that can spot your need for truth? Has there been a "Wendy" in your life that pointed something out and saved you from being "rashy?" (I'd love to hear the story if you want to share).
Make sure you say thank you and love your "Wendy," today. 
And..make sure YOU ARE A "WENDY," for others. 

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