Cold Water and Blazing Sun

It is amazing how frigid pool water makes 95+ degree weather seem almost mild.

Knowing the temperatures will be soaring into triple digits in the next few days, I had Matt fill up the kiddie pool over lunch so we could take a dip this afternoon. After thoroughly applying sunscreen on each of us, Lauren shrieked with delight as we headed outside.

A shock of freezing water awaited our toes as we gingerly stepped in. Well, I should say Jackson and I carefully stepped into the pool. Lauren went all out, blazing right into the water with as much splashing as possible. Knowing the cold water wouldn’t be so bad once my body adjusted, I eventually sat down, going through several phases to get there so I wouldn’t have to take it all at once.

"Sun in the sky...

Temperatures will be close to or exceeding 100 through the weekend

As the kids splashed and played, I thought it really didn’t seem that hot. The sun was shining brightly, and I could feel its warmth on my shoulders, but surely it wasn’t in the mid-90s.

That’s what cold, cold water does for you. It numbs you to the heat. It tricks you into thinking that you can stay outside longer than you should, counteracting the hot air and your better judgment.

Aren’t Satan’s tactics the same? He knows how to tap into our rational nature, and numb us to the danger of sin. Satan is a master of deception and encourages us to push the boundaries. He uses cold water to take the edge off the fiery sun of temptation with which he intends to burn our witness. And as we are in the middle of the experience, it just doesn’t seems so bad because our senses are blocked from the danger.

It’s only later that we realize our skin is sensitive to the touch. As the night wears on, the burn begins to show more clearly.

How can we avoid this predicament?

  1. Avoid the danger all together
    If you know that you are sensitive to a particular temptation, avoid it. Period. Follow the example of Joseph. When his boss’ wife threw herself at him, he ran. He didn’t stop and assess the situation, he got out of there as fast as he could. (Read Joseph’s story)
  2. Use the right sunscreen, and apply liberally
    If the danger is unavoidable, or God is calling you to be a part of a situation in which you will encounter this temptation, preparation is key. You must be in God’s Word daily, making the time to connect your heart with Christ in prayer. Guzzling His living water is a requirement. Then, when you are exposed to the danger, you will know the right actions to take, and more importantly, who to turn to for protection. Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They loved the Lord with all their heart, and when they were challenged to bow to the King’s idol or die, they refused to dishonor God. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, and God Himself showed up and saved them from certain death. (Learn more about this miracle)
  3. Set limits and stick to them
    Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Let Him set your boundaries. Don’t make it your goal to see how close you can get to danger without getting hurt; make it your priority to be as close as possible to God. Remember James 4:7 – resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Stand with God, and obey Him completely.

As we are all now relaxing in our air-conditioned house after our fun in the sun, the kids and I are just a little pink. Thankfully, our 50 SPF sunscreen did its job.

Burning Book

I am so thankful God was watching over Jackson this morning when I was not.

Jackson started shouting to me, “I burned the book! I burned the book!” as I was coming down the hallway after changing Lauren’s diaper. I put her down and raced toward him. He had a panicked look on his face and held out his book to me. I glanced over his shoulder and saw the candle I had lit earlier with smoke wafting from where the wicks were burning just seconds before.

The book-burning candle

I turned over the book, and sure enough there was a dime-sized black mark on the back, warm to the touch. Even though I had put the candle in the middle of the kitchen counter, which is too far for Jackson to touch from either side, he decided he would reach up with his book and rest it over the candle jar. That snuffed out the wicks and burnt the book.

The implications of what he had done hurtled through my mind, and with a pounding heart I tried my best to explain to him how dangerous and wrong his actions were. Jackson knew he shouldn’t have done it, yet he just didn’t understand in that moment how serious the consequences could have been.

Sin is like that. It may look beautiful, like a flickering candle, and even fill a room with its sweet fragrance. Its presence can soothe, and even hypnotize. It’s hard to determine how close you can actually get to the flame until it is too late. Damage from the flame can heal, but the scar will always remain.

Are their areas of our lives that we are flirting with sin, or not taking precautions to distance ourselves from that sin? Are we doing something, or not doing something, that is making it easier for others around us to fall into temptation? Just because we are not currently involved in sinful activity doesn’t mean we are fully protecting ourselves and those around us.

I do think some of my warning to him did sink in, because the first thing Jackson did when we got to story time at the library was tell one of his friends the whole story. He also then explained that the fire could have made the house fall down and we all could have died, so don’t put books on fires.

That’s advice we can all use.