Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hidden Fires Blaze Out of Control

Today as Spouse and I drove into the parking lot of our local grocery store, we smelled something unpleasant. The kind of burning rubber odor you might detect if someone had just spun tires while squealing out of the parking lot. We didn't think anything of it until we got inside and had been shopping for a while. Then there came an announcement over the P.A. system, calling employees to the front of the store with a fire extinguisher.

Outside in the parking lot, someone's car had been slowly smoldering. We had smelled it as we walked right by the car, but had not detected much out of the ordinary. Apparently, it had smoldered for quite some time before it really started to smoke. Either nobody could fiind a fire extinguisher, or nobody wanted to be the one to approach the car in case it exploded. In any case, a crowd gathered to watch the smoke begin to filter from beneath the car's hood. By the time the fire department arrived, it had begun to roll from the engine with real determination. I could see beneath the car where bits of burning things had fallen to the ground. The fire fighters had to pry open the door and hood of the car, because the heat had virtually welded it shut. Before long, they got the fire put out, but not before the car was totally ruined.

This got me thinking about sin. Like a hidden fire beneath a car's hood, it smolders just beneath the surface of our souls. We can't see its spark in the beginning. We might get a whif of it, but we ignore its warning. By the time we get around to addressing the problem, our hidden fires have blazed out of control and consumed our lives.

God told Cain in Genesis 4:7, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Sin crouches. Sin hides. Sin smolders beneath the surface until it bursts into flames. This lenten season (and the rest of the year), let us be so aware of our smoldering sin that we extinguish it while it is still just a foul odor. And if it has already become a damaging fire, remember to call the only One who can put it out.

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