Back in June, my family got kitties. Yes, real, live cats. (A big shocker for those who know my family.) Their names are Willa and Liesl, and they’re so adorable that I just want to hug them all day and every day. They were also supposed to be only outdoor cats.
Let’s just say they are no longer only outdoor cats. They may or may not have slept with my sister and I recently. How did they go from “they are not coming in the house unless it’s thirty below” to “oh well…they’re upstairs again”? This process of slowly allowing our cats to be on the furniture and even sleep with us made me think about sin.
Yes. Sin. I’m going to combine fluffy animals and, well, darkness. Because Willa and Liesl didn’t just sneak into our house one day and end up never leaving. No, it was a slow fade (or ascent, in this situation). We brought them in when it was humid and we wanted to be inside, but didn’t want to be away from them. We brought them in when it was storming. Then they got to sit on our couches. Then a bed or two. They meow, and we can’t help but let them in.
Now, let’s switch gears. Imagine the door to our souls. Replace the cute meowing of a kitty with the ugly roaring of the devil. And start to consider how sin happens.
Because of Adam and Eve, we are born ready to sin. It’s in our human, fleshly nature. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, that flesh dies and we become holy. Our sin, past, present, and future, is forgiven and we now own the key to eternity. It’s a sob-worthy moment, a celebration.
But we’re still IN the world. It’s sinful, it’s ugly, it’s tempting. We won’t be perfect until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) And that’s where we run into issues. If you’ve read even half of the Bible, maybe just some of the New Testament, you will know what sin is. (Galatians 5:19) We have the power, through Jesus, to fight it off and stand strong, but sin is … there. And the devil always wants us to be falling into it, because the deeper in sin we are, the further from Jesus we are.
Bring the kitties back into this discussion.
Our first mistake (if you can call it that) was to let them in once. As I mentioned earlier, it was humid and we were tired and didn’t want to be outside. So we opened the door. Sighed, and said, “sure, come on in you cute little things.” And they happily pranced in.
How many times do we let sin in just this once, because we’re tired and frazzled and just want to relax because fighting the devil off is difficult …. and then suddenly, days, months, years, later, we look down at that sin, now nuzzled up at our feet in our bed, and wonder, “how the heck did that happen?”
I don’t think sin just happens. Look at the many verses in Proverbs about the warnings of committing adultery. Notice how it says a man is “led” astray. The word isn’t “catapulted”. Being led means moving. It means that someone has to walk toward whatever it is. There are steps. Maybe there’s first envy, then lust, then seeking, etc.
David and Bathsheba’s affair is a well-known sin in the Bible. (2 Samuel 11) It first started when David was out walking on his roof and saw Bethsheba bathing. I can imagine he first took his walk innocently. Then he saw her, and he heard the first roar of the devil at the door, whining to be let in. He let that door crack open just a bit, and the devil slipped in. Then he inquired about her, and the devil hopped up to the couch and settled in. Then he asked her to come to the “castle” and the devil started roaming the rest of the house.
Falling into sin is a slow fade.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8
The definition of prowl is to move about or wander stealthily in or as if in search of prey. You think the devil is going to be obvious about trying to get you to sin? He will do everything he can to make it seem as little as possible, because he knows the trick: make it small. Harmless. He’s saying “just let me in for a sec; then I’ll leave”. But he has no intention of that. Because he’ll ask for something else next. Just a little bigger than the first, until you’re staring at your sin, so deep, so disastrous, that you don’t know where to begin to get it out.
How to get out?
And here’s where the parallels of sin and kittens end, because Willa and Liesl are perfect and cute, but the devil is, well … not.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. ~ James 4:6-10
Open the door to Jesus. He’s knocking, but he waits for us to open the door. Open it, invite him in, then draw near. Kick the devil out of your bed, and let Jesus consume your whole house. Yes, it is easier said than done, but this passage in James explains the way to do it. It takes surrender, it takes confession, it takes work. We say all the time that Jesus saves, and yes, He saves us from eternal darkness, but we often forget to mention what He does on this earth. He saves us from the devil. From his sweet-but-deadly lies, from his whispers at the door, even from his curled up position on the bed.
Whether you’re in the stage of the devil whispering, or in the there’s-a-monster-in-my-bed stage, resist him, and he WILL flee. I’ve been in both. And both are hard. But knowing who’s behind me and before me (Psalm 139:5) is a comfort. And y’know what? There’s a comfort in each time the devil is at the door. Because that means I recognize him as the devil. Do I always tell him to go away? I wish. But that’s the learning curve. Each step, each ‘no’, each time you step BACK instead of moving forward to turn the door handle … that’s resisting satan. We do live in a fallen world, and we will sin. There’s a reason why Jesus forgives our past, present, and future sins.
But knowledge is, well, helpful. And knowing how the devil gets into our lives helps us recognize him, and knowing what Jesus can do helps us to resist him.