Summary: Sin can sometimes pounce upon you and destroy you in one fell swoop … or it can quietly, silently eat away at your heart and soul. Achan's story in Joshua 7 can show us what happens when we try to hide or bury our sin.
We’ve all heard the question: “How do you boil a frog?” And the answer is: “One degree at a time.” Now … scientifically, it turns out that that’s not true. When the water gets hot enough, the frog will jump out of the water.
How do you destroy a person’s soul? Answer: One sin at a time.
We don’t like talking about sin … and we certainly don’t want to be preached at about sin … but guess what? Whether we want to talk about sin or hear sermons about sin or not … it doesn’t make it go away just because we ignore it. Denying its existence or refusing to talk about it doesn’t change the reality and the facts about sin. Sin separates us from God … and that separation from God destroys our hope and a number of other things … like our peace … our joy … our trust … our faith.
In some cases, sin is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Sometimes sin is silent, crouching at the door, ready and waiting to pounce upon its victim. Sometimes it’s like a termite … small, insignificant … one termite by itself isn’t much of a threat … but if you’ve ever had to deal with termites you know that if you see one termite, there are thousands more eating away at the walls and foundation of your house, amen? By the same token, how much damage can one termite do? But when they bring in all their family and friends, the damage that they cause can be quite extensive and very expensive. And here’s the thing about termites … you never know the extent of their damage until it’s too late, am I right?
Sin can sometimes pounce upon you and destroy you in one fell swoop … or it can quietly, silently eat away at your heart and soul. Every time we do something that we know is wrong, every time we rationalize or ignore sin … it takes another bite out of our hearts … another little nick out of our souls.
Oh … you might not feel the consequences of your sin … not right away, anyways … but over time your sins will begin mount up and you will begin to notice a sense of uneasiness in your heart … a restlessness in your soul … just on the very edge of your consciousness. You can’t put your finger on it but you sense that it’s there … and it doesn’t go away. Even if you choose not to look at it or acknowledge it, the termites of sin will keep chewing and gnawing away … to the point that eventually you can’t ignore it anymore … something’s wrong … something’s out of kilter … out of sync … you know it … you feel it … and you begin to wonder what it could be.
After all, you’re a Christian, right? You love God … so why don’t you have the same enthusiasm to serve God that you once had? Where has the joy of serving God gone? Whatever happened to that sense of well-being, that sense of peace that you had when you first began walking with the Lord? You don’t seem to be as hopeful about things as you used to be. Something is off … something is definitely wrong … but you just can’t seem to pull it out of the shadows … you just can’t seem to get your arms around it … to get a fix, a bead on it.
Here’s the thing about sin … you can ignore it all you want … deny that it exists … and it won’t change a thing. In fact, sin loves it when you deny it … when you look away … it does its best work when we’re in denial. But let me ask you … are we ever really in denial? If there’s no bear in the pantry, then I have nothing to ignore … nothing to deny, right? I don’t even have to think about the pantry. Why would I? In order to deny that there’s a bear in the pantry, I pretty much have to acknowledge that there is a bear … or something … in the pantry. You can try to ignore that suspicious mole on your neck, but you had to have noticed it at some point in order for you to decide to ignore it. Otherwise, why would you have to choose to ignore that thing on your neck. Like a termite, you can ignore that it’s there all you want but it’s there … gnawing at you …chewing away … and some part of you knows it. I mean, who chooses to avoid looking at their neck … unless there’s something on your neck that you choose to avoid, you know what I mean? You with me so far?