May 22, 2024
a brown and gray cub lying on ground

Loose ends and little foxes: what disobedience does

Old king Saul went on a cheerless mission. He was to destroy every living, moving and breathing thing that had the tag ‘Amalek’ to it. He did as best as he could but the sight of the hapless captive king and healthy livestock did him in.

Those who managed to somehow escape carried the seed of bitterness and revenge for almost six centuries according to some Bible scholars. This seed found its diabolical fruition in one conniving Haman in the palace courts of great King Xerxes. What King Saul had hesitated to do, Haman intended to do with barely restrained relish.

‘Letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews…’ There was a stamp of totality and finality to it, you could have been forgiven to think Haman had been present when God issued the same instruction. Haman was no shrinking violet after all; he meant business. This was the same man who immediately after planned to serve Mordecai’s death on gallows as the entrée to his dish of violence.

I am sure King Saul had not envisioned the ramifications of his disobedience that far. Maybe at that time when he was confronted by Prophet Samuel, he was convinced that his actions were indeed ‘nice’ or ‘reasonable’ or ‘not so bad’ or ‘pretty harmless’ or even ‘noble’. He didn’t imagine that a whole nation’s destiny would be on the brink of extinction because of not dealing with their enemy completely.

It’s frightening really, when you think about it. A little unfinished business came calling centuries later with a hefty bill. However, some unfinished business doesn’t wait for centuries; it exacts its toll in a person’s lifetime. The little hole unattended to seeps water into the ship and sinks destinies and legacies, and destroys lives and testimonies.

Loose ends of sin can come undone in the most unseemly way if they are not dealt with in time; it gets fat! That’s because sin follows a progressive pattern of growth. Temptation, if we allow its seduction, gives birth to sin, and sin, if we entertain it, gives birth to death.

Paul urges his readers to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Peter urges that we watch out for the enemy who is a like a roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may devour.

It is in our human nature to weigh and compare sins, even rank them. And so when we have an incapacitating and fairly public sin, we deal with it intentionally. But we ignore what we think are little, ‘private’ sins. Those sins that are not so easy to spot, that we think we can ‘control’, are the ones that grow up to become big monsters. And they gobble up every good thing in our lives, including our testimony and witness to the world.

Those sins that are not so easy to spot, that we think we can ‘control’, are the ones that grow up to become big monsters. And they gobble up every good thing in our lives, including our testimony and witness to the world.

I have been following on the simultaneous implosion and explosion of a megachurch with some concern and sadness. Over the years they have blessed the body of Christ with some beautiful music. There had been quiet complaints in some quarters over the years, and then recently the dams burst . Some of the cases reported are now taking on a legal angle. Lives have been damaged and once again, we have brought the name of Christ to disrepute.

It seems the leader, in cahoots with other leaders, had entertained little foxes in their vineyard . The foxes grew up and came for the field.

It’s easy to point fingers. We seem endowed with the ability to size up everybody else in the world except ourselves. But I like what one Chinese proverb says: ‘When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your heart’. We all have little foxes that we think are harmless and we keep feeding them. The problem is they don’t stay little and soon you will not be able to control them.

Is it a little lie here and there, a small peek at dirty sites once in a while, ‘harmless’ dirty jokes with the boys, unfaithfulness in your finances? I don’t know about yours, but mine was for a long time, a hot temper. And since I do not easily get annoyed, I ignored and even excused it when I was still a single lady. However, when I got married, I came face to face with it in my very own home — a big monster that posed a very real threat to my relationship with my spouse. It has been a long walk to freedom but opening up my heart for God to deal with it was the most important step.

A ‘pet’ sin is the old man’s way of clinging on so that we do not experience the fullness of life as a new creation in Christ Jesus. But we must deal with him ruthlessly, everyday putting him away and putting on Christ.

(1 Samuel 15, Esther 3, 1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 4:22-24)

Olive Ngoe

Olive Ngoe is a leadership development trainer, speaker, coach, author, blogger and a follower of Christ who is intentional about personal growth and leadership of young people. She blogs at https://olivengoe.wordpress.com/

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