Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Suck Zone


Have you ever tried to stuff a boiled egg into a bottle? I'm sure most people have better things to do. But if you did, you'd realize it is a pretty futile effort. Because of the bottle neck, you can't really force the egg into the reservoir. So, you can sit the egg on the neck of the bottle and your egg would be safe.

In life, we often find ways to "sit on the neck" of sin. Perhaps it's watching things we shouldn't be watching, or going out partying in places that we really shouldn't be. We aren't sinning, and not really doing anything harmful, so it's not a problem.

However, if you were to take a piece of paper, light it on fire and drop it into the decanter and then place the egg in the neck of the decanter, something crazy happens. As the fire consumes the oxygen in the decanter a vacuum is created and the soft egg will get sucked into it!


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King David of the Bible experienced this very thing. 2 Samuel 11:1 describes that during the time, the kings were supposed to go off to war. However King David stayed behind and hung out at home. Strictly speaking, there is no law to say that there was anything wrong with David staying home. However, it was the time of the year in which kings needed to be at the battle front. How often are we slowly drawn into sin, simply by keeping away from the battle front? How often do we decide to forgo the sharpening of our spirits (i.e. Bible study and one-on-One time), only later to find that we have become spiritually weak? How many times do we waggle away from engaging in the world and addressing it's need of the Savior? There are battles forged each and every day, and our place is on the very frontlines - not staying behind on rooftops of the palaces of our lives.

As we sit in the neck of sin, something can catch our eye. Perhaps the shows we watch make a certain sins appear more enticing and less consequential. Perhaps we could "handle" the party/club scene until we meet someone we want to "spend more time with." These things are like a little fire in the bottle, they burn out the oxygen, and then the draw of that little fire will suck us in. And let me tell you, once that egg is in the decanter, you usually have to break it into pieces to get it out.

Even the most mature Christian can sometimes struggle with the line between perfectly allowable and "The Suck Zone," so here are tips to keep from getting suckered:

1. Know your limits.
Any addiction clinic will tell you that dry and sober are different things. Dry means you aren't using the thing you're addicted to, but you're still in the life. You're still partying with the same people, going to the same places - and that's bad, because it's too close to the edge for you. Sober means you are beginning a new life. New friends, new places - all steering clear from your addictive properties. If you have struggles with something and you know it, avoid it completely! That means stay away from the places that focus on it, stay away from the t.v. shows and magazines that glorify it. Is watching a movie wrong? Not really, but if you know it can trigger you to go farther than you want, just stay away.

2. Keep yourself accountable.
"I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends" What a good way to look at it. An accountability partner is, by far, one of the best resources God can give us. Someone that will step beyond our personal lines of comfort and politeness, someone that will accept and use your permission (and you need to give him/her that permission) to dig a little deeper if they suspect you are faking out your "Oh, I'm fine!" smile. If you don't have an accountability partner, get one. Not just about your biggest hang-ups, but in everything. Sometimes we just need to chat about daily struggles to realize our long-term battles, or discover our personal game plans.

3. If you find yourself going there, just walk away.
Go cold turkey while you still can. I don't know how often I'll see a message from a friend saying "Hey, I'm going to fast from [movies/t.v./internet/anything-else-you-can-think-of] for the next [enter period of time]." Or have a friend decide to break off friendships with people that are dragging them down a dark path. I do my best to encourage them and pray for them. They're taking a break from the neck of the bottle. Like I said, these things aren't wrong, but they aren't drawing us directly toward God either, and being there can give us a good view of some rather enticing sins. So if you start to feel that draw, contact your accountability partner and walk away.

I wish we would learn this truth and perfectly imply it in our lives quickly and immediately. However we don't. But remember, if you find yourself sliding into sin... if you feel the heat of the flame and the vacuum of sin... or even if you're already trapped inside that bottle, there is a way out. I mentioned that there's rarely ever the chance of the egg getting out unbroken. King David was crushed when he met the face of his sin. However, we serve a God that heals the broken. So if you're there, don't lose hope. God can pull you back through and set you straight.



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