Not just a barrier
Security companies call me all the time asking if they can come install their devices to make my home more secure against break-ins, home invasions, and even to just have "monitoring" to see what people are doing in my house when I am not there! Now, I don't live in a totally naive state, but I trust God to keep me secure, so I don't find myself succumbing to their pressure no matter how "bad" they tell me it is to live in this world right now. I have traveled into areas where people have bars on their windows and so many locks on their doors there is just about no door jam left! There is no sense of "security" without these devices - the neighborhoods are "rough" to say the least. Security is really feeling like you are in a place where the "risks" are minimized - steps have been taken to reduce the possibility of something happening. This is why those folks install the locks and put the bars on the windows - to minimize the risks. In a different sense, I want to challenge us to begin to think of security as not just minimization of risk, but the deep sense of confidence which comes from knowing we have a good foundation to whatever it is we are trusting in. If the foundation is faulty, then everything else is just not going to cut it when it comes to keeping us safe. I watched a video the other day where the police department encouraged folks to change out the length of screws attaching the plate for the door lock with three inch screws rather than using the smaller one which come with the lock. Why? It provided a greater "hold" for the plate and less chance someone would be able to kick in the door. Well, in "testing" their theory, they actually proved their theory right, but it didn't keep the door or the jam from being destroyed! In one demonstration, they even kicked the entire door jam apart from the wall and the door was completely in tact - but they were still able to get in the house! The screws held, but the ultimate "mission" was NOT accomplished! Too many times we find ourselves setting out to accomplish one thing and our "foundation" is just plain not secure!
Sin cannot offer security! But if you live right, you will be as secure as a tree with deep roots. (Proverbs 12:3 CEV)
Sin is kind of like those door jams - it doesn't offer us much security in life, even though it appears to be something which would stand up to the pressure. Sin has a way of convincing us we are on "solid footing". I am not quite sure how that happens, but somehow we get to the place of thinking we are going to be "okay" even if we pursue some pretty "shady" stuff in life. In fact, sometimes we think we are minimizing the risk we will give into temptation by "installing a couple extra locks", but we forget the locks are only good as the foundation into which they are attached! God's plan includes us getting rooted into a solid foundation by digging deeply into his word and then allowing it to get deeply into us. As a tree sets down roots, it "takes into it" the things in which those roots are situated. If the roots are deeply rooted, it also has a more solid hold against the things which would seek to uproot it.
To live right includes this idea of taking root and then continuing to "take root". If you look at the trees in my backyard, you will see they are kind of "limited" to the backyard. Or at least you might think! I have had to dig up sprinkler lines or dig holes for new trees I planted in my yard over the years. In doing this digging, I came to discover roots from trees behind my property are invading the space known as "my yard"! From all directions, roots are found coming into and going out of my yard. Some belong to those trees I planted, while others belong to trees clearly outside the boundaries of my property! I thought those "native" trees planted along the street which runs behind my fence line were on "that side of the fence". After a little digging, it was clear they were seeking out the water I provided! No wonder they grow so well! They are thieving the water I put down for my one developed tree and the two I have grown from seed!
Sin is kind of like that - it invades territory we "think" is clearly delineated as "ours" and we even take every effort to mark out as ours (like I thought the fence did in my yard). What we don't realize is how much what we believe to be security is really just a "partial barrier" of sorts and not really security. Only God can give us the security against sin we so desperately need. Unless we "tap into" his foundation, we have nothing more than "partial barriers" with which to resist temptation. Just sayin!