“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21
Today was the first day of VBS at our church. I volunteered to be a nurse for the week and was unsure of how things would go. Though with over 1500 kids at VBS, I was pretty sure that the nurse’s station would get at least a little bit of action. And, as predicted, we had a couple injuries requiring nothing more than a band aid or ice pack, a sweet little one with a pseudo tummy ache (i.e. “I don’t feel like participating”) and my favorite nursing action of the day…tick removal! If you just went, “ewwwww”! That is the proper response. Ticks are nasty little creatures that I’m sure they have some purpose on this earth, but I don’t have any idea what it is. Thankfully, my most recent career venture came in uber handy in dealing with this tick. As an American Heart Association First Aid and CPR instructor, I have been teaching classes how to deal with such a thing (among many other, more significant life saving skills). So, I found a lucky set of tweezers in the First Aid kit and followed the guidelines that I’ve been teaching. The guidelines recommend a careful method of removal as to not leave any part of the tick in the skin. The head in particular can cause a variety of minor complications if left behind.
This event caused me to consider what happens when we don’t consciously and completely remove sin from our lives. Certainly, I realize that we cannot completely remove sin in a fallen world, but indeed we can flee from it as often as possible. When we are acting in sin and the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts, we are challenged to rid ourselves of that sin. But we would not be obedient if we didn’t get rid of the whole thing, nor would we experience the freedom that comes from getting rid of a particular sin. For example, if we allow our words to be filled with gossip, foul language and hatred and the Spirit convicts us to change how we use our words, then the challenge set before us is to let our words be edifying and filled with grace at all times. But, if we find ourselves falling into our old ways when we are with certain people, it’s the same as if the head of the tick were left in the skin. It will make things complicated in the future and likely cause some hurt. God sent the Holy Spirit to act like those tweezers to pluck away the sin that stands between us and God. And He sent Jesus to get rid of the whole sin, not just a small part of it.
I was able to successfully remove the tick (from the child’s ear, no less) and left nothing behind that will cause her any further complication or hurt. I can only pray that just as that tick let loose of her skin, she too chooses Jesus to free her from the sin that so easily grips our lives.