Deep Holes, Strong Currents, Slippery Rocks and a Really Short Prayer

Labor Day Weekend is when many families take one last trip to the beach before the school year begins. Most beach goers are familiar with the signs on some beaches that warn of unseen hazards such as deep holes, dangerous currents, and slippery rocks.  

These are perils of nature which lie invisible beneath the surface. One can be standing in perfectly calm water and be one step away from an unseen hazard that can quickly end in disaster.  

Sin is a lot like that.  We are usually aware of the highly visible storms of sin that lie on the surface:  things like murder, adultery, drunkenness, or stealing.  But what about those illusive sins that lurk below the surface of our hearts but can be just as deadly?  

Here are three such sins that we may want to avoid:

1. Envy

“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous, but who is able to stand before envy?”  Psalm 27:4

Envy is not the same as being covetous.  Coveting is most often for material things while envy is for the immaterial. Envy is when we are single and wish we were married (or the other way around.)  Or when we have no children and envy those who do. Or when we or a loved one is sick and we envy those who are well.  

Just before His ascension, the Lord Jesus was telling Peter of the things that he would soon face.  Peter asked about John to which the Lord replied “what is that to you?” Once we take our focus off of the Lord and start comparing our circumstances to those of others, we fall into a deep hole of envy from which it can be very difficult to climb out.

2. Bitterness

“Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:15

Scripture describes bitterness as a root, which like kudzu, will engulf anything in its path. Another analogy that might fit is slippery rocks. Once you start slipping into bitterness it’s quite difficult to recover. “Are you kidding? After what they did to me!”

Jesus made it clear that the Heavenly Father’s forgiveness of our sins is directly linked to our forgiveness to others (Matthew 7:14-15); and graphically described the horrific consequences of unforgiveness in Matthew 18:34-35. A root of bitterness can lead to a life of suffering spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

3. Unbelief

“O, thou of little faith, wherefore did thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31

Unbelief is the undertow of sin because it relentlessly pulls us further and further away from God.  Unbelief is the exact opposite of faith and leads us into doubt, fear, and a host of other sins.

Unbelief causes us to doubt the goodness of God. Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God and that he who comes to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Every day, we make hundreds of choices and decisions. These are either based on the Truth of God’s Word or not. Those decisions that are guided by His Word prove our trust in and love for Him.  Those decisions that are not guided by His Word prove that we do not trust in Him.  Therefore, this type of unbelief proves that there is something or someone that we love and trust more.

A Short Prayer

Unless one has experienced an undertow or other strong current, it is impossible to appreciate their immense power and how suddenly one can be overcome.

When caught in a deep hole, a strong current, or the slippery rocks of sin, perhaps the best plan is a really short prayer like the one Peter prayed as he sank beneath the waves: Jesus help!