Have you ever noticed that so many people today have a daring attitude about life as though they are invincible? They seem continually challenged to find out just how close they can get to ... whatever. Yet were they always of this mindset? Often, as young children we all may have climbed to reach for that forbidden cookie, or tried otherwise to see how much we could get by with without getting into trouble. Yet instead of our daring efforts diminishing on our becoming adults, with many people they tend to grow more intent. Challenges become more risky. Some people get their high from dangerous drugs or alcoholic drinks. Others who would never consider doing such things involve themselves in seemingly less frowned on risk-taking actions such as "outsmarting" their spouse, employer, or the IRS. All the while, if left unchecked - whether realizing it or not - the need to see how close we can get to ... continues growing to more extreme; To some, its as if their thoughts are, how close can I get to that fire without being burned? To that edge of the cliff without falling? Or even to death without dying?
Evidence of this strange, seemingly unconscious fascination with "closeness" can especially be seen at amusement parks. Originally designed for children's pleasure, they now have become playgrounds for dare devils. Displayed as being normal is the "thrilling" experience that one can feel from the unknown result of seeing how close they can come to .... Then, with each daring accomplishment, a need is stimulated to act on one even greater. And after each "close call" the desire increases for a more audacious experience; to reach farther, to go faster, to do more - to get closer.
Yet as exciting as such adventures may be, a terror exists. With every feeling of escape, within the conscience of the "escapee" an insensitivity to the possible warning signals of disaster is slowly developing. Like the proverbial frog which sits contentedly in water that's being heated - until he boils; the possibility exists also that we may become so conditioned to danger - until it is too late to escape. Such a thought should become more sobering when we consider the effects such an act might have on our physical body. Yet more important we should ask our self: What if a similar desensitizing should happen to my spirit?
The wisdom of the 19th century author, DeWit Talmage, leaves little doubt about this being a possibility. He said, "No man becomes fully evil at once; but suggestion bringeth on indulgence; indulgence, delight; delight, consent; consent, practice; practice, custom; custom, excuse; excuse, defense; defense, obstinacy; obstinacy, boasting; boasting, a seared conscience and a reprobate mind."
Getting a thrill may be enjoyable for the moment. But when considering eternity - how close is close? Webster describes "a close call" as a narrow escape. Yet is there an escape route when one approves of, delights in, and excuses sin? How close can one come to a temptation to sin without indulging?
The Apostle Paul wrote, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind ... Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things ... without natural affections, implacable, unmerciful: Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" Romans 1:28-32
Scripture also warns, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation...." Hebrews 2:1-3
As we read such verses we may be thinking, "I will never slip. I live a good life. I'm faithful to attend church." Yet in reading the Bible's tragic account of Samson, we find an example of someone who no doubt had those same thoughts. Samson was a man chosen by God and experienced the Holy Spirit moving on him with great power. But he continued to willfully indulge in daring little things - and a little more - and more. Until, finally, God's Spirit left him.
It would seem a serious mistake for anyone to take lightly the account of Samson's life - and death. It also would be foolish to think that somehow we might be exempt from Satan's similar traps. So as we consider the steps which lead to Samson's final destruction, may it challenge us to consider carefully not only the lessons that can be learned from his life - but our own standing with God, as well.
How close are we clinging to that which is good - or how close are we walking - even stepping over into the deadly path of sin?
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;"
Samson had grown very confident in being close. But when God holds the measuring rod ... how close is close?
Thank you for these sobering thoughts. I had not thought this behavior to be so universal. Particularly for those of us who would not expect to behave this way. Is it a sign of the end times? I can not remember it being so rampant.
Interesting, corruption comes gradually, not all of a sudden. Thank God for Faithwriters. I am blessed by your sobering thoughts.
From the titles, I am indeed looking forward to reading more of your works. Thank you for your comments. The Lord Bless You.