July 7, 2011
Sin will suck you into a downward spiral so fast you won’t know what hit you. One moment you can be on top of the world, and the next being tossed around in the eye of a hurricane. Chaos rains down; control is stripped out of your hands, and the wind of justification picks up in strength. Just as suddenly as the sin hit, you find yourself standing in the quiet aftermath observing the devastation. I once heard, “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.”
What is sin? Sin means different things to different people. Some think it is the BIG things: murder and stealing. They do not consider the little things such as lying, cheating, or disobedience. Yet, not fulfilling their purpose in life can also be sin. You have meaning, you have a story and you have purpose. But not caring enough to find out what that is, can be sin. Sin simply means to miss the mark; to err; be mistaken; wander from the path of righteousness or honor; to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God. Although sin means different things to different people, for the sake of this story, let’s concentrate on missing the mark.
Like a bow and arrow with a target in front of you, you aim for the bull’s-eye on the target. But you miss the mark. You have the capacity and the skill to not only hit the target, but hit the bull’s eye. This meaning, you know consciously the right thing to do, yet you choose to do the wrong thing. Sin takes your focus off the goal while it causes you to veer off the path. Two pictures come to my mind.
First, we can walk through life with a ball and chain wrapped around our ankle. Dragging it into every relationship, every job, essentially every day. Because we did not deal with the sin, we carry it around with us year after year. Personally I feel that it grows in size and weight as the years pass by.
Secondly, we may think we have gotten rid of the ball and chain, but we find as we journey through life that we encounter landmines. It is true that sin has its consequences. We may be forgiven but there is residue left behind. Much like the Iraqi war Desert Storm, though the war ended, landmines remain. A landmine is defined as, “an explosive device intended to damage a target.”
Just as the Iraqi soldiers planted those mines in strategic places, so does the enemy in our lives. Not only has he planted them, but knows how to veer us off the path to make walk directly over a mine so that it explodes.  I have found that just when I think I have made progress, a landmine erupts. Not only can I be injured, but those around me are also. So what do I do?
First of all I have to know that God is loving yet He is also just. He made the way for me not to have a ball and chain or to experience landmines. As I read through the Old Testament I see how many chances God gave the Israelites to repent or change, yet they chose to go their own way. Often, only when they had experienced the consequences, did they call out to God. He constantly led them in the right way, loved them, blessed them, protected them, yet they still rebelled. Time and time again, He bailed them out.
Just like the Israelites, God does the same for me. He leads me in the right way by a “life manual” I get to read every day. He loves me, blesses me, and protects me. But because of choices I make, or unwise moves along the way, I allow or have allowed, the enemy access to my territory and he took advantage. Because he had access, he buried some mines in strategic places and has waited for an opportune time.
Through a series of events, I have removed the ball and chain labeled unworthy and unlovable.  In actuality, it was hiding the real culprit: pride. I built a wall of pride around me and chose to not believe that God truly loved me and that I was unworthy. All the time, I was unaware that I was slapping God in the face. Because Jesus (God’s one and only dearly loved son) had seen to it that I was loved and worthy. Not because of who I was or what I had done, but because of who He is and what He has done. Once again, I played right into the enemy’s hands because he thrives on using you and me to slap God in the face.
In John 10:10 it says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I have been experiencing that full and abundant life that Jesus came to give me. My focus has changed, my perspective is different and I am free. So it comes as no surprise that recently and unsuspectingly I stepped on a landmine. The enemy waited for the opportune time and he knew exactly what it would take to veer me on the path which would make the landmine detonate. Yet amazingly, I find myself in unfamiliar territory! Standing with elbows bent at my sides, arms turned up and palms turned outward, asking, “Are you serious? Do you really think “THAT” would hurt me or those around me?”  
You see, what the enemy doesn’t know or is blind to is that God and I have been doing business. We’ve been cleaning out the storage bin of regrets and mistakes; therefore I have purged a lot of excess garbage stowed in the form of ball and chains. So when satan detonated that bomb, it no longer had meaning or value. Yes, the explosion was loud and appeared to cause damage, but I truly stood unscathed.  I call that being set free to hit the mark dead on!