|Vol. 13 No. 4 April 2011||
Have you ever had your mom take just one look at you when you got home and before you could find the right word, she began the fine tuned interrogative process? One sunny day a young teen came home from play and adventure across his parents’ farm carrying his bolt-action .22 caliber rifle. The boy was hunting in an attempt to find some living creature or dangerous animal that might warrant being fired upon.
This particular hunt was turning out to be a disappointment. No bear. No lion. No fox. Not even a groundhog to raise its head. However, on his way home he spotted the slow movement of a skunk, of all things, waddling along a fence line and coming in his direction. Of course, he knew there was potential trouble, but he thought he was clearly at a safe distance. This young man had never come up against a real live skunk before, and he thought, how far can Sweet Sue throw her perfume anyway?
Later, on his way to the house empowered by his sensory faculties, he began to sense the heap of trouble he was actually in. His mom took just one look, or perhaps whiff, and the questions came a flying. “Where have you been?” Then, the companion question, “What have you been doing?” The lad tried to explain, “You see mom, I was out there on the farm and along came this little skunk, and uh, uh, well, you know, uh.” There was no one else to blame. His big brother had not led him into temptation. His little sister was nowhere in sight. It was just him and one of God’s little potent creatures, and a poor choice on his part not to run as hard as he could.
Isn’t this often our experience with temptation and sin? We often recognize the potential danger. We see the threat, and we have God’s escape route in view, but we turn our backs on it. We want to stick around to see what is going to happen next. The human tendency is to see how close we can come without adverse effects. We want to play, have a little excitement and adventure. Yet, the Bible warns us to “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and to “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
When we come into the Lord’s house to experience fellowship with God and His people upon the first day of the week, we need to be confronted with these timely questions: “Where have you been?” “What have you been doing?” For our worship to be pleasing to the One to whom it is intended, it is important we truthfully answer these questions and, at the same time, be able to give a favorable accounting of ourselves. During the week, let’s avoid evil and corruption so we do not attempt to sneak into the Lord’s house, and yet be a dead giveaway to our Father by the fowl stench of sin we are carrying (cf. Psalm 1:1).