The Fire Ants and the Hill of Fire; Poking and Prodding at Mounds of Sin
“A wise man is cautious…But a fool is careless.” – Proverbs 14:16
To every action, there is a reaction; at least that is what I learned in Physics back in high school. To put it another way, “to every action, there is a consequence to that action.” With this life principle in mind, I suppose we have all had moments in our life where we have acted without thinking of the consequences. The following story happened to me as a teen.
One fall afternoon while walking in my backyard, I found an ant hill crawling with fire ants that was bulging out of the soil of a particular flowerbed. It was the flowerbed positioned under the kitchen window. From simple observation, I quickly determined the mound of ants would be fun to disturb and disrupt. On that particular afternoon, I happened to be the only one at home, which provided me the freedom to destroy this heaping mound of fire ants any method my heart so desired. I considered all of the methods of torture at my disposal. After a quick inventory of all the contents in the garage, I determined gasoline to be my best option. I eagerly saturated the ants with gas in an attempt to snuff them out of their dirt mound home. They scurried around somewhat, and a few of them died, but I was still not satisfied. So I then considered lighting a match and setting the ant hill on fire, but feared that I might get burned since I had just poured about a gallon of gas on the mound. After all, “fire” would certainly be an appropriate method of torture for “fire” ants. It was at that moment, that another clever idea came to mind. I thought of a way to set the ants on fire, but be far enough away that I would not get hurt. Above the kitchen was a short platform roof where an upstairs guest bedroom opened up to. I thought to myself, “I’ll just go run upstairs and climb onto the platform, distancing myself from any harm, light a match, and drop it down to the gasoline saturated hill of ants.” So I did. I paused and lit one match. Everything was silent. Then I dropped the match down towards the ground on the ant hill. “Whoosh!” The small campfire that I had initially envisioned was instead an aggressive inferno pressing up against the side of the house. I panicked in disbelief, and quickly left the roof platform, crawling back into the house by way of the guest bedroom window. I bolted my way down the stairs, and headed towards the backyard. It took about five minutes to put out the fire. Let me just say that I am very thankful that there was a garden hose nearby.
An unbridled curiosity for sin can be a very dangerous thing. If not reined in, it can lead the believer to carelessly and haphazardly poke and prod at the mounds of sin the world has to offer. Instead, just as the proverb states in our text above, we are to live our lives cautiously and not carelessly. This principle would also apply to even the way we handle the temptation to sin. We all face the temptation to sin, and we will be tempted to do so as long as we are on this side of eternity. But we must aggressively put up a fight so that we do not give way to the temptation. As depraved individuals, we are naturally drawn to sin, just like a curious teenage boy is drawn to a mound of ants. Yet the believer must fight that temptation to tamper and flirt with sin. This means that we are not to recklessly play with sin as if it were some toy. Remember, I chose to play around with that ant hill, and almost set the house on fire. The best thing to do with sin is avoid it at all costs. Leave it alone. Don’t agitate it; just deal with it, and be done with it. Finally, make sure that the soil of your heart does not provide favorable conditions for mounds of sin to develop in the first place.
– Pastor Eric