You remember my story (last week’s edition of Integrity Insights) about catching
crabs while on a family vacation this summer, don’t ya’? (Click here to read last week’s
What really excited me about that evening was how
everyone fell into a role and functioned as a well-oiled TEAM! But there’s more
to the story than I gave you in that first article. There were other things I was
excited about – in a different sort of way.
Going back to that eventful night……As we were catching the crabs, somebody
had to carry the bucket. Well, since everybody had their role – spotter, crab
catcher (yours truly), cheerleader, etc., and I was the senior member of Team
Crabber, the job defaulted to me. So I would kneel down and throw my net on
the crabs while holding the “loot” in my other hand.
After we had caught the first dozen or so, carrying the bucket was no big deal.
After all, those first crabs we caught were pretty small. They moved around and
snipped and snapped at each other, all the time making little hissing noises. But
the further we got down the beach, the bigger the crabs became, and by this
time, we had become much more effective in the art of crabbing! So we caught
bigger crabs!
Now – let’s pick it up after we had caught nearly two thirds of a bucket of crabs –
a bucket that now held a bunch of BIG crabs. (My daughter’s “little” sand bucket
held a lot more crabs than I thought it could.) Another thing – those things were
pretty athletic and could jump pretty well!
So by this time, I realized that my job had become a little treacherous! The little
critters seemed to get more active as time went on, jumping higher toward the lip
of the bucket, and the little plastic handle that held the bucket. The only problem
was – that little white handle was held by MY HAND!
We finally decided to go back to the house to show the catch to my mother-in-law
and the others who couldn’t muster the courage to join us on safari. So my idea
of easing the chances of my hand getting snapped – by lightening the load in the
bucket – was not an option. (After all, we had to show off “the catch”!) Besides,
the cheerleaders would have had heart attacks had we dumped all those crabs
out on the beach.
So the only thing I could do was to carry them as gingerly as possible, trying to
keep my hands at a distance from the snapping crabs – a distance that was
getting shorter by the moment!
As I carried the bucket, listening to the hisses and snaps going on among the
crabs, I couldn’t help but think that I need to do a better job of treating ‘sin’ like I
was treating the crabs. I mean – I was respecting those crabs, knowing that
there were a few in there that could get a pretty good pinch on my hand. So – I
was very careful. As I thought about it, I had to confess to God that at times I
wasn’t nearly as diligent in staying clear of sin as I was of staying clear of those
So here’s the real question: “Just how DO I stay clear of sin?” Well – much like I
tried to stay clear from the crabs: Stay clear of them!! You see – sin will always,
by its very nature, drag you down into its clutches, like the crabs really hoped to
do with my hand!
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives us clear instructions:
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you
want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship
of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” (2 Tim. 2:22)
I don’t think that most people do a very good job, in general, of running away
from situations that could bring them to a point of committing sin. But Paul’s
words tell us that it is not enough to run away from sin. We must run toward
something – something that will cause us to focus on doing what pleases God!!!
So – what does that look like? Paul continues on to give us a clue. Notice the
last part of the verse: “…and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the
Lord with pure hearts.” What is that all about? It’s about hanging with people
who are not going to pinch you and pull you down into the bucket, but who will put
their arms around you and lift you up! It’s about finding the people who will care
enough about you to help you stay focused on what helps you to make good
quality decisions.
Where are those people? Well, I can guarantee you that many of them are right
here in our Integrity church family! Get to know them! Join a Bible Study group,
a small group, or a ministry team! You will find the “…companionship of those
who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”