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TONY ELDER: Avoid behavior that might endanger our relationship with God

Tony Elder

Tony Elder

I’ll admit that I’m not someone who often pays close attention to what people wear or their accessories. But recently I couldn’t help but notice the distinctive purse and shoulder strap of a lady I encountered. The strap was deep red with big black letters which repeatedly spelled the word “danger.”

To be honest with you it reminded me of the tape you might see around a crime scene, construction zone, or other hazard. It wasn’t what I would call attractive. The purse also had a short strip on it with the same design. Does anyone know if that is actually some brand of purse?

I wondered why someone would wear something communicating so vividly that idea of danger. It would seem to be telling people to leave her alone.

Was she warning people about what she was carrying in that purse? Was she letting people know that she was a tough person or dangerous in some other way, possibly in a provocative way? Or maybe she was simply in a foul mood and was telling people, “You don’t want to mess with me today!”

I don’t know, and frankly I was afraid to ask.

It would be nice if those things which are dangerous to our souls would display such warnings. What if every temptation toward sin was wrapped in red tape with the word “danger” displayed on it? Maybe we’d think twice before heading that direction.

However, those spiritual hazards often appear exactly the opposite, don’t they? They come wrapped up in pretty bows and bright colors. They might even carry deceptive signs encouraging people to “Open me” or “Try it you’ll like it” or “This is good.”

The Bible tries to warn us of the dangers, but we’re often guilty of ignoring its declarations of “caution,” “don’t go there,” “run in the other direction,” and “this won’t end well.” We’re blinded by the attractiveness and the promises of momentary pleasure.

Or even though we see the warning signs, we sometimes are fooled by such thoughts as “It won’t hurt anything” or “I can always turn right around and ask forgiveness for it.”

God didn’t wrap red danger tape around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden in order to remind man that it was off-limits. He simply but clearly told Adam not to eat of its fruit, warning him of the fatal consequences of such action.

But Eve listened to the serpent’s lies instead of to God. She “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). So she took the fruit and ate it, in spite of God’s previous warnings.

Mankind’s original sin has played out over and over again in various versions in people’s lives. Instead of fruit it may have been any number of things which they knew were not in harmony with God’s will for their lives.

And just as there were painful consequences to mankind’s original sin, we face similar results when we ignore God’s warnings. Sin always has its cost. God warns us about those dangers because He’s looking out for what’s best for us.

There may not be red tape and danger signs around each thing that can hurt us spiritually. But God’s Word and the Holy Spirit will be faithful to warn us about them if we’ll just pay attention.

So let’s be watchful and stay clear of anything that poses a danger to our relationship with the Lord.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.