Imagine combining sauerkraut, spoiled milk & canned tuna with the bloated, rotting carcass of a dead possum and that should give you some idea of what my teenage son’s tennis shoes smell like. We recently had to buy him a brand new pair – even though his existing shoes were in great physical condition – simply because of the “stench of death” emanating from them. [I felt so sorry for the young gal working at the shoe store. When she came near my son carrying the shoes he wanted to try on, she immediately dropped down to one knee – not because she was trying to help him put them on, but because she almost passed out from the smell!].
Now the amazing part of it all is that my son swore that he couldn’t smell any noxious odor coming from his old shoes, in spite of the fact that flowers would wilt and skunks would go screaming into the woods whenever he walked past them. However, he wasn’t lying. Because he had worn the shoes most of his waking hours and then slept with them by his bed every night, he’d become so accustomed to the smell that he no longer even noticed how putrid they were (though it was immediately obvious to anyone who came within a 500 yard radius of him).
This is how it is with sin. The longer we wallow in it, the less sensitive we become to its presence and devastating effects. When we’re immersed in our sin throughout most of our waking hours, we become so accustomed to it being part of the “norm” that we no longer notice how foul it really is. We become unable to recognize the destructive effects that our sin is having on us and those around us.
How can we regain our “sensitivity” to sin so that we can “sniff out” where it has us enslaved? First, we need to dive into the scriptures. Not only will it point out the sins that hide deep in the heart, but seeing the ways in which our lives diverge from the life of Jesus will reveal where we’ve gone “off track”. Next, we need to build relationships with mature Christians who can objectively look at our lives and tell us (gently, yet firmly) where sin is at work. Finally, we need to periodically get away from the hustle-&-bustle of everyday life so that we can do some prayerful reflection on what is happening in our lives & in our hearts, and let the Holy Spirit guide us toward increasing holiness & away from the stench of sin.
Worship – Grow – Serve