My dog and I were witnesses to the funniest sight the other day: A squirrel, running in place!
We were just recovering from a 15 cm snow fall the day, and it was -20° C. The roads hadn’t been cleared yet, and anyone who’s run in ankle-deep snow knows that it is equivalent to running on the beach. After two kilometers of slipping and sliding, I had had enough. I decided to take the short cut home.
It was just as we rounded the corner to turn back that we saw the squirrel, sitting calming in the snow. He must have seen us at about the same time, because he instantly dropped what he was eating, pointed his nose straight at the oak tree 10 m away, and began to run-in place!
Quite obviously the deep snow was causing problems for even the small creatures of nature!
I don’t know how much energy that poor squirrel used up during those brief seconds, but you could almost read the determination on his face as he slowly and gradually began to advance, centimetre by centimetre, his eyes never leaving that oak tree.
Fortunately for the squirrel my dog was leashed, and he was never in any real danger, but he looked so funny running in place that I did have a good laugh at his expense!
The incident also made me think. The squirrel was in trouble because, although he had his eye fixed on the tree, he was not IN the tree. He had left his safe tower and was walking in snow!
As Christians in our walk through life, we are little different from that squirrel. We are aware of the traps of the enemy, and many of us at least attempt to flee them. And just like that squirrel’s eyes never left the tree, we often do, at this stage in temptation, shift our eyes to Jesus! But we aren’t IN the “tree”! We haven’t ever made Jesus the centre of our lives, of everything we do! And when we try to run back to Him, it often feels like our feet are bound!
The writer of Hebrews describes the feeling very explicitly when he says, “… the sin that so easily entangles us …” (Heb. 12:1b). You see, just as the squirrel couldn’t find any footing in the deep snow, our feet are often tangled up in our pet sins, in our worldly ways! We are tangled up in ourselves! And just as the squirrel couldn’t make any headway in the snow due to lack of footing, neither can we run from temptation!
Is it any wonder that so many Christians fall into immorality? That the divorce rate among Christians is as high as that of the world? That addictions rampage among fellow believers?
There is only one solution: You can ask Jesus to help you follow the advice of the writer of Hebrews: “… put off EVERYTHING that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith …” (Heb. 12:1-2). You need to make JESUS the centre of your life, friends, the centre of everything you do! You need to allow HIM to be the focus of your world! As you do, you will be made aware of the pet sins that continue to entangle you, and with His strength, you WILL be victorious. You will also begin to despise the old self, the self that is completely filled with you. In fact, you’ll reach the point where you won’t ever WANT to leave the “tree”-Jesus Christ!
Lyn Chaffart , Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org