Trapped by Our Appetites

February 23, 2015

James 1:12-16
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Trapped by Our Appetites

We have bird feeders outside our sliding glass door, on the deck near the house. We love to drink our coffee and watch the birds in the morning. The squirrels also love our bird feeders, because it is a free lunch for them. I have a squirrel trap that I use when the situation gets out of hand to trap the squirrels and haul them off. It is a rectangular cage about two and half feet long. About two thirds of the way back there is a plate on the floor that spans the width of the cage and it has a rod that connects up to the door. When the trap is set, the rod holds the spring-loaded door open, but when something steps on the plate it pulls the rod out of the catch and the door springs shut and locks.
Recently, we have, what appears to be a new litter of squirrels that have discovered the bird feeders, so I had to dig out the trap out and start catching them. Yesterday I found one trapped and another one was on the outside trying to console or help him. We hauled the trapped one off to a park about two or three miles down the road and last night I set the trap again.
This morning as I was spending my time with the Lord, I looked up and saw one of the squirrels in the birdfeeders. He hadn’t come from the ground, but had jumped over from the roof to try and eat his fill. Eventually, he jumped back on the roof and disappeared. After a brief period of time he reappeared, this time walking on top of the deck railing gleaning some of the fallen seed. As I watched he eventually made his way down to the deck where he continued to forage for food. The squirrel trap was set and on the deck, beneath the birdfeeder. I had placed a few peanuts in a plate in the back of the cage along with a trail of nuts that led out of the cage and onto the deck. Initially the squirrel wasn’t real interested in the cage and seemed a little leery, but eventually as he was searching for food the peanuts captured his attention. At first he would go all around the cage looking for another way to get the peanuts, not finding any he eventually stuck his head in the door and grabbed one of the closest peanuts, taking it up to the railing to enjoy it. This little ritual continued on as each time he would venture just a little further back into the cage. At one point he even got on top of the cage and seemed to be testing it to see if he could trip it. Since nothing happened he continued to go back and get one peanut at a time till eventually he tripped the door and was trapped. Suddenly the priority wasn’t about the peanuts anymore it was about the fact that he was trapped and there was no way out. Now all of the attention had turned from his appetite to trying to get free from his bondage.
I felt like the Lord was giving me an object lesson about how we become ensnared by our fleshly appetites and the progression of temptation, to sin, to death. It is rare that one who has experienced Christ turns around and walks headlong into sin and death. It usually is a slow progression of enticing compromises that lead us to that point. We may, like that squirrel, have started in the heavenly and the high places. Little by little our appetites led us lower and lower. We know about the snare of temptation and sin. We may have even seen others caught in it and the destruction it brought. Somehow we think we are just a little smarter, more discerning, more spiritual and we won’t get caught. We start out very cautious, but when nothing happens over a period of time we get self confident that we’ve got this figured out and that we are beating the system. Then comes that day we finally go too far and the door slams shut. Suddenly our sin is discovered and revealed. Our world comes crashing down. Suddenly those temptations and sins that we were so enthralled with mean nothing in light of the consequences we are faced with. Our reputation may be ruined, our family may be lost. There may be any number of devastating consequences we may be facing because we had succumbed to temptation. We who may have once have been considered wise and righteous, may now appear as the fool.
Perhaps this is a warning to all of us to be aware of the areas of temptation and like Joseph, to flee from it. Be sure that our sin will find us out eventually. May we not allow ourselves, like the squirrel, to become ensnared and trapped by our fleshly appetites.


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