If you were to ask my husband what time zone we live in, without missing a beat he would reply with “LA Standard Time” which translates into LAST. I’m the LAST one to get in the car when we go somewhere, the LAST one to arrive at a social function, the LAST one to finish dinner, and on it goes. Before you jump to the conclusion that I’m completely inept, I do very well when it comes to commitments where I have a task (speaking engagements, Cultivate rehearsals, and … well… I’m sure there are other things although none come to mind). My early arrival in those endeavors is the result of one simple object: we keep the clocks set at least 10 minutes fast. The rule in the house is that when we have a specific task where time is of the essence, we (I, to be specific) must adhere to the time on the clock and not account for the ten extra minutes. Most of the time it works pretty well. Most being the key word.
WHEN DID IT GET OUT OF HAND?
This past Monday morning, I was getting ready to leave for an 8:30 appointment to discuss music with OCC Worship Leader Aaron Lee. As I turned out the light in the bedroom and headed to the car, I noticed the clock in our bedroom said 8:10 am – more than enough time to make it to the church, which is a mere 7 miles down the road. However, when I picked up my phone, the time flashed 8:24. Surely I hadn’t lost track of 14 minutes. I double checked. Bedroom clock? Yep, 10 minutes after eight. Phone clock? 8:24. How did I not know our clock was slow? How long had I not realized the time was incorrect? Had I been late to other appointments? When exactly did it get out of hand?
Once I finally arrived, I was explaining to Aaron about the time warp in our house. “I hadn’t noticed the clock had gotten behind,” I stated. “I guess when it just gets behind a minute here or a minute there, you don’t really see it. Then one day you look up and you’re 20 minutes late.”
AND ON IT GOES…
“Ah – the slow fade,” Aaron replied. “It’s like sin. It slowly creeps up on you and you don’t realize it until it’s taken over.” I marveled at the analogy. Think about it: rarely does anyone start out fully immersed into something. I’ve never known anyone to get up one morning and decide to run 10 miles. They ease into it little by little. A mile here, two miles there, a 5k in the fall, the mini-marathon… and on it goes. Likewise, I’ve yet to meet someone who woke up one morning and decided to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. One cigarette just “to try it.” One after a long day. A cigarette to start the morning, another before bed, a pack every two days… and on it goes. When did it get out of control? How did it happen?
While there are scriptures all throughout the Old and New Testament that discuss fleeing from sin and living a Godly life, two prominent passages come to mind:
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. – Romans 1:28-32
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. - 1st Peter 5:8-9
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
One passage talks about God and the other passage talks about Satan, yet they share a common denominator: Acknowledgement. Realizing there is good and evil. In the passage from Romans, Paul wasn’t speaking to a particular individual, but rather discussing what happens when we refuse to acknowledge God. We give way to foolish thinking, sin creeps in, and hate fills our heart. Yet if we acknowledge God, trust in Him and rely on Him, He will help us stay vigilant. Likewise, the second passage talks about acknowledging Satan. When we are alert, it is easier to resist temptation. It’s harder to creep up on us since we are standing firm in our faith. We know those things in our head, yet foolishness overtakes our rational thinking. What’s the old saying? Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. (Author unknown)
Even though I realized Monday morning the bedroom clock was slow, I didn’t do anything about it. “I’ll take care of it later,” I thought. “I will just be conscious of the fact it is slow,” I told myself. It didn’t hit me again until Wednesday afternoon. I thought it was 11:30 but it was almost 1:00. I hadn’t realized I had lost so much time – and I certainly didn’t want to lose anymore. So you know what I did? I stopped what I was doing and I replaced the battery. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? And while sin has consequences that can be difficult, and while we can’t turn back the hands of time, we can start from where we are. We can begin by acknowledging our wrongs and admitting we do need a relationship with our Savior. Though we slowly faded away from Him, He never moved an inch.
IT’S A SLOW FADE
It’s a slow fade when you give yourself a way.
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray.
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid.
People never crumble in a day.
It’s a slow fade.
(Written by John Mark Hall ©2007)
Is there something you’ve let get out of control? Have you lost time you can’t get back? I pray today you acknowledge the need for the Savior and ask Him for help before it’s too late. He is waiting with open arms. You see, people never crumble in a day. It’s a slow fade.