Every time I take my dog, Buddy, out for a walk, I look around to see if our “neighborhood bear” is around. A few weeks ago a momma bear and her two cubs were in our back yard going after bird feeders. It was beyond amazing… it was years before I saw a black bear in the wild, and here they have been visiting my own back yard… and I live in the ‘Burbs no less. How cool is that?
The momma bear is quite large, and the two cubs… well… they were really cute and adorable, and make you almost want to go out and play with and hug them. And why not? We have Teddy Bears, and stuffed bears, and bear figurines, gummy bears, bear carvings, and so on. Bears are cool, cuddly, and cute. Except… There’s just a few problems… Were you to even attempt to go up to play with and hug a bear cub, it is most likely momma bear won’t be so understanding of your motive. You would most likely come away torn and broken… if you were able to walk away at all. As cute as bears seem to be, they can be quite ferocious, strong, and dangerous.
It got me thinking (always a dangerous exercise)… It’s kind of like how the enemy of our souls likes to work. If we truly grasped the end, the result, the consequences of sinful choices, it might… maybe… cause us to rethink things up front. Have you ever worked in a homeless shelter, or been around people who lost everything because of alcoholism or drug addiction? Have you been around someone who destroyed their marriage and the respect of friends because of marital indiscretions? Have you ever been around someone who lost their home, possessions and more because they were consumed with gambling? Have you ever been around someone who lost their job, even their career because they compromised on their ethics?
Now think with me for a moment… You’ve seen beer and alcohol ads. Drink this and the fun and party is on! And isn’t love all about how you feel? Yes, you’re married, but how can something that feels so right and good be wrong? Play the slots, play the lottery… you can have some fun, hit it big, be set for life… Oh, and you can contribute to seniors in PA, how’s that for kicks and giggles? And isn’t success and achievement, and getting ahead more important than character? You need to know that what our world presents us with is cute, cuddly teddy bears… tempting pictures of fun and excitement; but as a man named Solomon wrote: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
We all need to take the words and warning… and hope of Jesus to heart. He said, The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) How “rich and satisfying [of a] life” do you think the people I described above are experiencing? I mean really? What about you? Maybe you’ve allowed the “thief”… the enemy of our souls - Satan, to tempt you into making choices that have led to something much less than a rich and satisfying life. If so… what are you going to do about it? What should you do?
You cannot change or undo the past, but I have a crazy idea… If wrong choices have led to a sense of hopelessness, destruction, or despair, maybe its time to repent of doing things your way, and turn to and really dig in and get to know the One who came to give us life, you life. It takes some work, it takes some discipline, but in the long run… to really know the Lord, is to find out what life is really meant to be. And that’s a good thing.