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The Long Journey Home

We didn’t exactly have “signs” that a rodent was in the house, but I kept hearing “sounds” that indicated it, and then I caught a glance of one darting under the dishwasher. Springtime in the South can be like that. All kinds of critters can find their way in. I once came up on my front porch, just as a long (I mean LONG) black snake was trying to find a way to slither under our front door.

So, it’s good to find out how the intruders are entering and go into attack mode.

Yesterday, we put a glue board in the area where I thought the mouse may be entering the house. Long before daybreak I heard the sound: a soft tapping, where the mouse was struggling to escape the glue board. At first, he was aggressive in his attempts to escape; he let out little said cries and pitiful squeaks. (Hearing that was hard.) How do you compassionately remove rodents from your house?

If mice could have regrets, I wonder if he regretted the choices he made, the turns he took to wander off track and find his way into this house!  

I grabbed a couple of hours more sleep before getting up to check on the pitiful little fellow. He’d stopped fighting, stopped struggling to get loose of the sticky goo that held him tight. He was still alive, even glanced up at me, but now he was accustomed to his environment and was no longer fighting for freedom.

Even though he was trapped, he seemed quite at home on the glue board, just kind of “resting” there. But, little did he know, when he stopped fighting to get loose from the trap, it meant certain death for him.

Looking at that pitiful creature, I saw myself. Trapped in sin. Held in bondage to my own sinful choices—unable to wrench myself free.

At times, I’ve been so deep in sin that I didn’t even realize I was caught in the death trap.  

For a believer, our true “home” is in the presence of God. When we wander into sin (or run headlong into it) we can easily lose sight of just how far from God we are. Getting confronted early in our sinful lifestyle, or responding to God’s personal conviction immediately, saves us from the excruciating journey that comes from spending years heading down sin’s road.

The idea of being “caught” in our sin is such an accurate picture.

How does one wrench themselves free from sin’s powerful clutches?

How does one return home when the heart has strayed so far that it no longer discerns right from wrong? 

Ever known someone who started a trajectory of sin that became a vicious snowballing effect? 

The spiral into sin’s trap begins first with little choices, then by covering and justifying sin, keeping it locked away in secret, hidden in darkness, hidden from the eyes of men (but not hidden from God), self-deception sets in and temptation’s glue has you caught!

Hiding our sin is adding sin to sin.

I’ve watched the power of self-deception and it is a gruesome sight. I’ve seen the enemy’s deception, and its brutality. I’ve been caught in an ugly snare of sin and it’s not pretty. 

How do we wrench loose from the trap of sin?

How can we climb out of that pit of darkness?

How does the spiral of destruction cease?

Rescue is available, but only by the Spirit’s power, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the brokenness of a penitent sinner. 

Getting Release: 

  • The first step out of the darkness is confession.

[box]Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:2–4)[/box]

  • My sin is first and primarily against God, but sin spreads rapidly to affect my relationship with others. In the journey back home to God, part of repairing my relationship with Him includes asking forgiveness of those I’ve sinned against. 

[box]So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23–24)[/box]

  • Accountability must be put in place—the level of accountability should be in proportion to the length of time in deception and the level of addiction to that sin. 

[box]Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1–2)[/box] 

  • Serious seeking of God’s face. 

[box]My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8)[/box]

Spending a season of confession, saturation in the Word, and wrestling alone with God in prayer, will allow the Spirit to do the work of conviction that only He can bring. In order to effectively eradicate sin, we must allow God to take us all the way down to its source—the root issue.

Depending on how long the root issue has been fed and how widespread the network of sin, what seems like radical steps may have to be taken.  

What is our responsibility to a brother who is drowning?

How do we come alongside one who is “overcome” by sin’s treacherous hold?

We must do it by carefully following God’s Word and staying in step with the Spirit’s leading.

Galatians 6:1–2 is our instruction for helping someone who is perishing in sin’s trap.

Tomorrow we’ll continue talking about this, but today, consider this question:

What is our normal/natural reaction to a believer who is “caught” by sin?

Gossip?

Self-righteous pride?

Do we pound them with condemnation?

Give them an “I told you so” speech?

Do we ignore it or enable them in their sin?

What does Galatians tell us our response should be?