Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"The Sticky Beast Within"

Deuteronomy 13.17 NASU

Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,…”

 
God banned the treasures of plundered nations from the victorious Israelite warriors. They were to gather all the pillage and publicly burn it in the town square of a conquered city. The people of God were warned never to touch it.

“Nothing… under the ban shall cling to your hand.”

I am also warned not to touch certain things… another man’s wife, too much dessert, money not belonging to me, certain television shows, evil thoughts, the clamor for significance, gossip groups, credit belonging to another, self-serving activities, so-called soft-core pornography, a false self image, undeserved recognition, etc., etc.

“Nothing… under the ban shall cling to your hand.”

It’s funny how sticky my fingers can be. “The Message” Bible puts it this way…

“And don’t let any of the plunder devoted to
holy destruction stick to your fingers. Get rid of it…”

My private lust is a wild beast within me. Only the power of Christ can kill my animal instincts. I call it the “sticky beast.” If I dare to touch that which is not mine, I give the beast its power. He oozes through the pores of my hands and sticks to the object of my sinful desires. It’s hard to shake it off. Like the slime of a slug, the sticky beast does not easily wash away from my graspy fingers. If I refuse to touch what I cannot have, the sticky beast cannot harm me or anyone else I touch.

“Nothing… under the ban shall cling to your hand.”

My dad taught me as a child not to touch merchandise in the store unless I was willing to make the purchase if I accidentally dropped and broke it. I should never handle that which I know can never be mine.

“Nothing… under the ban shall cling to your hand.”

I cannot honestly claim this day to have everything I want. I once did... a beautiful wife and great kids, fantastic grandchildren, my health, a comfortable house, wonderful neighbors, a growing and successful business, a good reputation in my community, an effective ministry, a piano, a dog, a couple nice (and fully paid for) cars, and most importantly, a thriving relationship with Jesus. 

Today, I have all of that except my dearly loved wife, Adonica, who died of cancer a little over eighteen months ago. In her place, I have only lessons to be learned about grief, character, nurture, regret, faith, hope, loss, and love. I’d trade any of it to have her back again, but that is not my choice. She is gone forever. While wanting her back does not feel greedy, still, she is “under the ban.”  I cannot have her. I must stop clinging to my old life, and learn to celebrate what is good and full about the one I now have.  

“Nothing… under the ban shall cling to your hand.”

I miss you, honey.

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