To recap…we have a frantic, teenage super-jock on the phone with his older sister (who is now quite panicked herself) as he leans over the bathtub, snow boot fitted snugly onto his fist, prepared to smash a villainous, King-Kong sized spider. (Yes, that was an official run-on sentence. But dire circumstances often require dire grammatical errors.)
Now then….where were we?…Oh yes;)….
“I MISSED IT!”
Disbelief. Shock. Terror.
My turn to scream.
“OH NOOOO! Well get it! Keep going! Don’t stop!”
A thudding and cracking and booming.
“Jordan!?… Jordan!?…. What’s HAPPENING?!”
A shout of joy! “AHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH! Got YA! He tried to get away but I caught him on the fly!”
Whooping. Hollering. Screaming.
“Take THAT son!”
Then….Jordan said something I won’t forget for a long time.
“Wow,” he was softer, more contemplative. “It doesn’t seem that big now….”
(Now, for that incredibly amazing application I was talking about….Ok…so it’s probably not that amazing, but I hope it’s at least encouraging.;)
…As you can imagine, Mom and I shared quite a good chuckle over the absurd situation on the way home. As the miles flew by however, it suddenly dawned on me that maybe Jordan’s escapade wasn’t so abnormal…in fact, it boasted striking parallels to the everyday battles of my own life. I am constantly attacked by an army of my own personal “spiders.” I’m not talkin the hairy, 8-legged, web-spinning kind—I’m talking about something much worse—“pet” sins. We’ve all got them, trouble areas or nasty habits that seem to creep and crowd the edges of our lives despite our best efforts to exterminate them. For me, maybe it’s incessant worry, or “performing” my walk with Christ for other’s approval. For some reason, I get the idea that since these vices are my “natural” weaknesses, God will understand and allow me to continue my merry way in these destructive habits.
ThankYou Lord, for loving me more than that.
Like Max Lucado says, “God loves us just the way we are. But He refuses to leave us that way. He wants to make us just like Jesus.”
Due to His great love, our Father can only allow us to go on hording these repulsive creatures for so long. Sooner or later, these pests will emerge from their “holes” and invade our comfort zones.
One day we’ll wake up to discover an occasional indulgence has become an addiction, a vice has become a lifestyle. There will be a spider the size of a BASEBALL, in our BATHTUB. Bigger and blacker than we ever thought possible. Even the “ cleanest” areas of our lives are dirtied by the infestation. We have to choose– stay soiled or face our worst nightmare—death to self.
My knee-jerk reaction is normally like Jordan’s, I call on someone stronger. I look to my Father and cry, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Help me!! That “pet sin” just turned into a monster!! It’s disgusting and big and it’s ruining everything! I can’t hide it anymore! What do I do!!!????”
Now, we I know that I technically asked the question, “What do I do!???”…But deep down I was really hoping that He would say, “Don’t worry. I’ll come and squish it for you.” Instead, He often surprises me with the response,
“Put it to death! Act like My child, and kill it! Be an overcomer!”
It’s not that Our Father doesn’t possess the power to squash sin, in fact, He already squashed sin once and for all on the cross. God doesn’t actually need us at all, He has just chosen to release His power in this world through the voluntary love and cooperation of His people.
Our part in sanctification is not to produce Christ in ourselves, but to take up the power His cross endowed…and EXTERMINATE our earthly selves. In Colossian we are commanded to, “Put to death, therefore what is earthly in you!” Only then can He can flood us with His Presence.
Just like mom couldn’t reach through the phone and squash the spider for Jordan, our Heavenly Father says, “This death to self thing, it’s not something I can do for you. I won’t leave you. I’m not going to hang up the phone. But our communication is going to be a little strained until you act with the overcoming power my blood offers.”
There are various reactions to this command. One of my favorites is to “pull a Jordan” and stare, paralyzed at the beast in hopes that it will go away on its own. “You know, “ I rationalize, “I’m just gonna keep an eye on it and maybe it’ll disappear. I can handle this.” The obvious problem is that my life will be lived standing still instead of flooding the world with the Light of Christ.
Another one of my favorites is to say, “Ok…I’ll do it. But maybe a little at a time.” Instead of outright sluggin the thing with a boot, I’ll get out the bug spray. This approach to sin is also a mistake. A squirming spider is still as bad as a fully-alive one. Our fellowship with Christ remains strained in each situation.
The one and only correct response is to say, “Yes, Father. In Your strength, I’m gonna step forward and SMUSH this thing!” He shouldn’t even have to offer us any incentives. There is no greater reward than unbroken fellowship with Himself. (Taco Bell may be tasty, but even crunchy gorditas pale in comparison to the love of Christ)
So brothers and sisters, my admonition to you is to, SWING YOUR DADDY’S BOOT! The instant you are aware of a problem, don’t hesitate, step forward and kill the thing!!!
You might miss at first, but be persistent!! Your Father’s boot is the one weapon that CANNOT fail. It’s the power that was destined to destroy sin from the beginning!! In the Garden, our Father promised the serpent that He would one day, “crush” his head. (Gen 3:15)
My favorite scene from the “Passion of the Christ” is when Jesus physically stomps on the serpent’s head, ultimate poetic justice!!! Yeah, Jesus has ALREADY, LITERALLY smushed the head of ALL your spiders. As AW Tozer says, “You have been forgiven, so act like it!”(Reclaiming Christianity)
….By the time I got home, the “monster” spider had already shriveled up to the size of a peanut. It’s once intimidating legs hung limp and bent. It looked more like a hairy raisin that a fierce predator. I think I actually laughed at loud. Then I smiled, “Wow….that’s how my sin is ALL the time. It doesn’t look that big anymore…”
Father, let us see through your eyes. Eyes of victory!
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:13-15