Danger hides in beauty, and beauty in danger.
– Belva Plain
Among the many things in this world that are unavoidably captivating, some are harmless and even favorable. Yet, others can be quite harmful and even deadly. Take, for example, the four objects in the image above.
From left to right they are:
The golden poison frog – This eye-catching bright yellow frog is perhaps the most poisonous animal in the world! Even its scientific name, Phyllobates terribilis, shows that small things can be incredibly harmful. This little amphibian produces enough poison to kill 10 humans.
The Aconitum flower – Also known as wolfsbane and monkshood, this beautiful garden plant is deadly. Just a few drops from its root can cause paralysis of the cardiac muscles or of the entire respiratory system, resulting in death.
Mercury – Also known as quicksilver, this is one of the most fascinating members of the periodic table. It is the only metal to be liquid at room temperature. Mercury is very toxic. It can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes and its vapors can be inhaled. Some of the most acute effects include damage to the brain, kidneys and lungs.
Deadly nightshade – This berry-producing plant is one of the most toxic in the Eastern Hemisphere as all of its parts contain tropane alkaloids, which disrupt the parasympathetic nervous system (involuntary activities such as sweating, heart rate, and breathing). Consumption of 2 or more berries could kill an adult human if not treated immediately.
Even in the world of science fiction, danger and death can sometimes take the shape/form of something amazing and beautiful.
In the 2011 movie, The Darkest Hour, what appears to be a fascinating display of falling celestial lights is actually an army of flesh vaporizing aliens that take the form of semi-invisible electromagnetic charges. They disintegrate their victims on contact leaving behind nothing more than a pile of ashes.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
– 1 John 2:16 NLT
Insatiable desire, ardent craving, and mesmerizing fascination. These all describe the lust that the Apostle John refers to in the above verse. The lust that is part of our sinful nature and which is activated through our five senses, especially sight.
In spite of the fatally attractive things found in nature and the disturbing horrors hidden within fantastic sci-fi movies, nothing compares to the detrimental effects of sin, whether it’s original sin or sins committed by omission or commission. Sin is biblically defined as transgression/rebellion against divine law (1 John 3:4). The most severe consequence of sin is separation from God; here on earth and for all eternity.
Our transgression against God’s law, and even most man-made laws, will always have some kind of repercussion. That’s because they have been established to guide, warn, and protect us. Among many other fallouts, sin hardens our hearts, sears our conscience, blinds our reasoning, and stupefies our affections. Simply put, it corrupts our entire soul.
But our sin doesn’t only affect us, it can also affect those around us, especially our loved ones. Life-destroying addictions, broken relationships, illnesses (both physical & mental), and even death can be a result of sin in our lives. These things inflict great pain on the people who care for us, including our heavenly Father.
“In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them…But they rebelled against Him and grieved His Holy Spirit…”Isaiah 63:9,10
“Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…In your anger do not sin…and do not give the devil a foothold…Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…”Ephesians 4:22,26,27,30
And so, the question is: If sin has such grave consequences, why do so many people continue to pursue, get trapped by, and die in it? Perhaps God’s nature, as well as our carnality, may provide an answer. When it comes to creation (nature), the things that stand out the most are usually those that are colorful, flavorful, aromatic, soothing in sound, and soft to the touch.
The same can be said of our depraved nature (carnality). The things that trigger our fleshly desires are the ones that stimulate and gratify our senses. That is why sin is so enticing, charming, and enslaving. And like colorful noxious organisms, once we are captured by sin, it administers its poison and then goes for the kill!
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”James 1:14-15
So, what can we do to avoid succumbing to sin’s luring power, a.k.a. temptation? First, remember that not every vibrantly colored animal or plant is safe to handle. Some are fatally harmful. Likewise, just because something is appealing and seemingly harmless, it doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial or okay to pursue. If it requires that we compromise our morals (Christian values, biblical principles) then it is definitely detrimental to our souls.
“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything.1 Corinthians 6:12
Second, we must conscientiously and consistently focus more on wholesome and godly things rather than those of this world.
Set your minds [hearts] on things above, not on earthly thingsColossians 3:2
Third, if and when the temptation to sin becomes overpowering, we need to break its spell by quoting and acting upon Scripture, which calls for us to run for the escape door!
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.2 Timothy 2:22
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.1 Corinthians 10:13
And finally, if it so happens that we fall prey to sin, we need to remember that there is an antidote that can save our lives, but it must be administered immediately. It’s called confession and repentance.
If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.1 John 1:9
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.1 John 2:1
It truly is quite a challenge to live righteously and remain pure of heart and mind when you are constantly being offered corrupt pleasures and delights. Everywhere we turn to we are bombarded with compromising temptations (eye candies). However, Paul’s advice to the Hebrews was, and still is, a practical way to persevere in a sin-stricken world.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.Hebrews 12:1,2
And in case you ever wondered: What does it mean to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus? To lock eyes with the One who saved our soul? It simply means to have such a connection with Him that every part of us aligns with His word and His will for our lives.