Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When What You See, Isn't REALLY What You Think It Is



"Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" Romans 2:4 (NLT) 


On our most recent trip to FL (our "Middle-Aged Vacation, that I blogged about HERE) we spent hours wandering the shores of Pensacola Beach, being wind-whipped by the cool winter air and enjoying the off season crowds (clue: there weren't ANY!). 

One of the unique things stumbled upon on the sand was a "blue jellyfish" that Mark sighted. Now, both Mark and I have spent a lot of time in the water and upon the beaches of Southern California, and neither of us had EVER seen a "blue jellyfish"! It was crazy!! We poked and prodded it, and noticed a few odd features, including the fact that the top of it wasn't jellyfish like at all...but air filled. We supposed it had something to do with the fact it was out of water, sitting on the beach. We noticed that it didn't have the same type of tentacles, and that despite the fact it was washed up on shore - it was moving! Jellyfish didn't move like this when out of water! It was more like a squid, moving it's top and tentacles around. Weird!


Our first "blue jellyfish"! (LOL)


So, since we've been home, we have talked about that odd, blue jellyfish more than once, but it wasn't until I was cleaning out my camera memory that I ran across the photos of that oddity. I had a few minutes, so I went ahead and Googled it..went to that all-knowing site of Wikipedia...and found that it wasn't a "blue jellyfish" at all, but a Portuguese Man o' War! VERY different than the jellyfish we thought it was! Crazy!!

I think sometimes we see something, usually a sinful situation (or "thing") and we react the same way. We THINK we know what it is, and how to deal with it; not understanding AT ALL the power we are playing with, how badly it will hurt us, could damage others we care about or hurt others we don't even know!

Maybe it's something we've seen before, so we think we can "handle it again" and THEN walk away, never realizing the mark it's made on our mind, or our heart, and how it will damage us over time...sometimes decaying us from within, or de-sensitizing us to a dangerous habit. Just like any jellyfish, or Man o' War, they can damage  us on the shore as badly as they can in the water. We can stumble upon a part of them in the sand, and it can be as hurtful as swimming in the water and being stung by them. (Yes, I remember being stung by jellyfish on sandy walks AND in the water! BOTH hurt!!) 

Just because we "stumble upon" sin, and we think it's out of context, or out of it's own power (because WE are bigger than it), it's still damaging. Don't poke at it with a stick. Don't flop it around on the shore. Don't put it back in the water, and DON'T bury it in the sand - because someone else might stumble on it and be burned worse than you were. Uncover it. Expose it! Call it what it is, and pray against it. If it can be done safely, remove it from the area, so it won't surprise someone else more vulnerable than you. And don't bring it home with you! Don't hold on to it and savor it and think that it's a special thing. It will eventually sting you...maybe to (spiritual) death.

We can never control sin, it always controls us. Whether it's an actual, physical sin - like pornography - or a lack of faith sin - like fear - we need the strength of God to have the courage to call it what it is, confess it, and pray it to demise. It helps to be honest, find an spiritual mentor to help hold you accountable, and ask them to pray against it with you, to be free from it.

I pray that you find the God-strength to remove the sins from your life, instead of admiring them as a unique "blue jellyfish", or hiding them, thinking no one else will find them. God knows our hearts, weak and frail as they are, and desires to help us clear the "blue jellyfish" from our  minds and call them what they really are. He loves us THAT much, and doesn't want us to be hurt by these powerful, destructive, things. 

A few more pics, for you to contemplate and pray through: