This weekend, I took my youth group to an event at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, TX called Omega Fest. This was a fun Saturday event that featured a crawfish boil, live music, and a mud volleyball tournament. The sun was hot, the music was great, the mudbugs were spicy, and the volleyball was...well...muddy. You can't participate in a mud volleyball tournament and expect to stay clean. But on a hot summer day, the mud was cool and wet.
As our team was called up, we eased into the cool mud and it actually felt kind of good. It was at least six inches deep throughout the entire court, so none of us were quite sure what was underneath it. After a showdown of Rock, Paper, Scissors, our team got the first serve. I bumped the muddy ball up over the net and it was vollied right back at me just a few feet up from where I was standing. I jumped forward and went down on my knees to get my hands up under the ball. As I watched the ball go back over the net, I realized there was much more than mud in the pit. It seems as I attempted to return the ball, my knees had landed on a pile of rocks under the soft cool mud. After a hose-down and later a real shower I noticed scabs forming on both my knees as I suffered the consequences of a seemingly innocent game of mud volleyball. (The picture above is a shot of my knee taken on Monday after the Saturday match.)
As I pondered my experience, I began to realize that this is how sin is. Just like that soft cool mud (although dirty) looked good on the surface, I didn't realize until after I got in the pit that there were rocks in there. Once the rocks had cut me (both on my knees and the bottom of my feet), I didn't seem to notice it as much as long as I was covered in the cool mud. But when I got out of the pit and cleaned off, I really noticed the pain of what I'd done. James 1:13-15 says: "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." As sin entices us, and we give in, it brings pain in our lives and sometimes it seems like the only way to mask the pain is to keep on sinning (remain in the pit). However, God is light and what light does is expose the pain of our sin. 1 John 1:7 says "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." If you will allow me to extend the metaphor, God is the one who gets us out of the pit and washes us off and allows our wounds to heal. Thanks be to God that he calls us out of the pit of sin and cleanses us from our pain to bring about healing!