Caution -- Reader Discretion Advised. The following content may be disturbing, convicting and impact your view on sin and life.
Several years ago, I heard Jill Briscoe tell a story of a man who owned a circus in the 1800’s. His circus was very famous, in particular, for the work he did with snakes. At one point, he held a baby snake in his hand. It stayed there, contentedly slithering between his fingers and resting in his palm. Over time, the snake grew, and the man continued to “work” with it. It had become accustomed to the man who eventually trained it to do a most unusual trick. The man would stand in the middle of the stage and the snake, now a full grown python, would coil itself around the man – around and around, upward and upward until the audience could no longer see the man. People came from all over and they were astonished at what this snake could do.
Crowds of people stood witness to this most extraordinary event, time after time, and the man and his snake were famous for their duet. One day, however, during a performance, a blood-curdling scream rippled across the stage from where the man and the snake stood intertwined. The python constricted itself, breaking the bones of the man and suffocating him. The man died, with the snake wrapped around him from head to toe.
“Sin is like the snake,” Jill Briscoe said. “We play with it, and we play with it and we play with it – until it plays with us.”
I’ve thought a lot about that story. To this very day, when I think of it, my gut is sickened, my heart is convicted and my love of Jesus intensifies.
Our sin may start out small. Alcohol. Drugs. Gossip. Slander. Pride. Selfishness. Lust. Materialism. A critical spirit. Unhealthy people pleasing behavior. Excessive need for approval. Deceitfulness. Whatever it is, we play with it and we play with it. As it grows we may not be aware of the power it is having over us. We think we have control over it and we sorely believe that we have trained it not to hurt us. At some point, though, the sin may begin to coil around us to the point that we are not seen any more, only the sin. It has hidden us from who we are and if it is not taken captive, it may eventually crush us. Suffocate us. Break us and even steal our life from us. It is a chilling reality of the power of sin in our lives.
Proverbs 5:23 says, “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”
But there is hope. We are not left alone to wrestle the beast to the ground and overcome it in our own strength. The good news is that we have a hope in the One who said He would crush the head of the serpent. Choose Jesus. Pursue God and His Word, the Bible, in order to see the sin as it starts and grows. Repent of it; flee from it; run as fast as you can in the other direction.
We play with it, and we play with it and we play with it – until it plays with us. Dear reader, search your heart today and believe in the One who can set you free from the cords of sin. Only in Jesus power is it possible. It is true.