The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
Frozen In Fear
My miniature poodle, Betty, and I were out for our daily walk, enjoying the shining sun and cool breeze. We were walking on the same one mile route we typically follow. Yes, I had seen the two, large dogs running loose, but I thought nothing of them. They were not coming our way, and we are creatures of habit. My, how things can change in an instant. Our walk was almost finished when the two dogs ran towards us. Everything happened so quickly. I did not have time to reach down and pick up my dog. Just keep walking, they will go away. One dog sniffed, the other simply began attacking Betty. With one large dog on my left, and my dog being attacked on my right, fear quickly filled me. What do I do? Are they about to attack me? How do I keep us both from being seriously injured? I felt completely trapped, a feeling I despise intensely. In a gut reaction, I yanked Betty’s leash. Her harness prevented her from choking as I pulled her through the air and into my arms. My voice may or may not have been working. In my head I was yelling at the dogs to go. Honestly, I do not know if any words ever escaped my lips. As Betty flew through the air and out of the dog’s jaws, a man had jumped out of his truck, yelling at the dogs. His arrival scared them away. He offered to drive us home, but I declined. I clutched my dog to my chest, both of us trembling, and walked home.
Trapped, Immobile, and Afraid
I did not want my dog to be killed by the large, aggressive canine. I also did not care to have either dog begin attacking me. Running would not have helped. Shouting, assuming words were escaping my mouth, wasn’t helping. With a barking dog on either side, and my dog in danger, I was trapped. The chaos of the moment was overwhelming. Isn’t that the way we often feel with sin? We are walking along on our merry way then “WHAM”! We are caught in a situation we do not want. Immobile, and afraid, we are unsure whether to run, to yell, or just play dead. Sin’s temptation can quickly approach, and attack violently. And we stand there, unprepared, wondering how to escape. Just as I had seen the dogs prior to their attack, we see sin. We are aware of its existence. We know it is on the prowl and waiting for someone to devour. But, we fool ourselves into thinking it will not capture us so we mosey right along. You see, I had considered turning down a different street, but I chose not to. I did not take a simple precaution. Maybe they still would have found us. Maybe not. As I did that day, we so often do when we encounter sin, we walk stubbornly straight for its destructive path.
Cry For Help
On my own, I could not make the dogs leave. In my head, I was yelling for help as I watched Betty being bitten. I was angry at my inability to remedy the situation, and scared we were alone. I had no weapon, no defense. Yet, a helper came. A man passing by took notice, and took action. If I had not received help from the passerby, I have no doubt that would have been Betty’s last day. It was the next day, as I was telling a friend what happened, I sensed the Father say, “This is why I sent my Helper.” How often have you wanted out of sin? How many times have I not wanted to be where I was, and prayed for a way out? One cry, one prayer, and help has always come. Alone, we are defenseless. Left to our own devices, we have a tendency to cause a bad situation to become worse. Oh but grace. God loves us so deeply, so completely, He provided a way for us to escape sin’s grasp. We do not have to remain. We do not have to be destroyed. The sin surrounding us does not have to become our story.
Jesus’ death on the cross paid sin’s debt once and for all. He did what we never could. Friend, you and I are offered forgiveness, every moment of every day. Our sin stained clothes have been washed and made new. In confessing Jesus as Lord, and confessing our sins, we are released. Yes, friends, we may face consequences. We may endure injury because of the sin’s bite, but we will be forgiven. As the vet stitched up Betty, our Father is mending our wounds. He heals, completely. He loves, intensely. He forgives, for eternity. These moments, these encounters, allow us to grow. We will learn how to defend ourselves. We acknowledge paths not meant for us to walk. No longer do we have to fear because the Rescuer has come, and leads us still.
How Do We Escape Sin’s Grasp?
- Confess. Confession is the first step, always. 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Yes, He already knows. However, by confessing our own sin, we are taking responsibility for our choices. As we confess, we are trusting God to keep his promise – to be faithful and forgive us.
- Find Accountability. If you continually find yourself struggling with the same sin, find an accountability partner. James 5:16 states: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Knowing there is someone who will check in with us, and who will pray for us and with us is incredibly helpful to stop sinning.
- Pray and prepare. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Pray for God’s protection and wisdom. Know what circumstances may cause you to sin, and avoid them. Pray for discernment to recognize sin.
Friends, I know I need to do a better job at recognizing, confessing, and escaping sin in my own life. The good news is we are not alone. We are never alone.