Everyone has those quirky childhood shows that they used to love without knowing why.
I loved Fatal Attractions from Animal Planet.
In this show, “normal” people would try and keep exotic animals as pets. No special effects, no stunt doubles, just real life. Every episode showed the same problem played out a different way. How crazy do you have to be to think you can take a hippo, give it a name and cozy bed, and change what it actually is: one of the most deadly and aggressive animals!
But, maybe this show isn’t so outrageous after all. Maybe you aren’t welcoming a hippo into your home, but are you trying to tame something even more deadly?
“Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” - Genesis 4:7
Picture my home: a brick duplex with a semi-cute porch that has some chairs, plants (including a fern that is currently dying), a front door, and a welcome mat. This is where I live. This is the place I eat, play, clean, watch TV, and lay my head down at night to sleep. The lens of Genesis 4:7 adds a different perspective to this pleasant picture of my house, where I am most comfortable and at ease. When looking through this lens, you can see something hiding, right beside the front door. It’s crouching there. Listening. Watching. Waiting. And what does it want? Me. It is not something I can play with; it is something that is playing with me.
Kris Lundgaard, in The Enemy Within, writes:
“Cuddly pets are sins that we domesticate and harbor in our hearts. We think of them as either too small or too great to take to God. Or we just plain get too attached to them to let go. Augustine, before he was converted was in love with his sensuality. He couldn’t bear a night without a lover. As his heart was turning to God, as he felt conviction for sin, but before he knew what it was to love God, he prayed, ‘Lord, give me purity—but not yet.’ When David prayed in the psalms about his unconfessed sins, he admitted they crushed him, blinded him so that he couldn’t look at God- they festered like untreated wounds and killed his love for God.”
If this is relatable, then you’ve made a pet out of your sin. It might be playing dead right now, but it will kill you. It will strike and threaten everything you love most: your closest friend, your career, your family, and most heartbreakingly, your relationship with the greatest lover of your soul.
“But, my sin is covered by Jesus!” you might be screaming inside your head right now. You’re not wrong. 1 John 2:1-2 says Jesus is our advocate and propitiation. Propitiation is the removal of Gods wrath towards sinners. God’s wrath didn’t magically disappear, but was poured out on Jesus. If your life is hidden with Christ’s, there is no wrath left for you. And even more, Jesus is our advocate. He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Every time we sin, He points to his brutal death on the cross: the crown of thorns, his betrayal, his trial, the lashings, and his final cry “It is Finished”. He then lays down his spotless record, which now has your name on it. You are so bad that our Holy and Just God demanded a blood sacrifice for your sin. Yet, you are so loved that our Good and Loving God would offer his only son for the sacrifice.
Therefore, if Jesus took the entire wrath of God and is your advocate each time you sin, does it matter what we do? Well, our advocate didn’t say to “go and sin less,” He says “go and sin no more.” He says, “you will know a tree by its fruit.” He says, “if your hand causes you to sin then to cut it off because it is better to go through life maimed than go into hell with two hands.” It’s serious to him, so it should be serious to us.
Practically speaking, how do you “rule over it”? Repent. Repentance is a turn from and a turn to. The turn from and turn to go hand in hand, and your repentance is not true repentance if you just do one. A turn from is not powerful enough without a turn to, a turn to doesn’t work unless I’ve turned from.
Turn from deceit, turn to truth. Read the word, know the word, meditate on the word. The world, the devil, and your flesh wants you to be deceived. The word holds the truth.
Turn from hiding and denying, turn to honest community. Stop trying to do it on your own and realize that you need people. You need friends who know Jesus and who know you.
Turn from doing, turn to prayer. Beg your Father to change your heart, to make you a man or woman of character. A child who loves the things your Father loves and hates the things your Father hates.
Never. Stop. Turning. To. Jesus. Turn and look upon the beauty of his face, every day, every hour, every minute. Your heart is like a bucket of cement: left alone, it will harden, but if you are continually turning, it will not.
If he is your only hope and your greatest love, be comforted that he is your propitiation and advocate. If he is not, then you have no propitiation or advocate. Maybe, you will repent for the first time, and turn to Jesus who will greet you with open arms. I pray you do.
Do not be deceived into trying to keep and train deadly pets. Do not let your affections be wooed by them. It is better far better for you to have a pet hippo than a pet sin. May the goodness of the Lord compel you to put to death anything you treasure more than him.