pockets

I realize this website has been about as useful as healthcare.gov, but that’s because I just completed a two week grading sprint. I’m a bit fried right now, but I wanted to share my latest ODJ devotional, which like my grades, is just going to beat the deadline. I’d much rather work ahead, but sometimes there isn’t much choice. I realize I just wrote three sentences with the exact same structure, but I’m too tired to care. Make that four.

International experts have proposed a simple way to prevent workers from stealing bomb-making materials from nuclear facilities. Eliminate pockets from their uniforms. The same strategy is used by casinos, subways, and tollbooth operators. If you don’t want your employees stealing money, remove the temptation by removing their pockets.

God repeatedly instructs His children to “run from evil” (Amos 5:14), “stay away from every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and “run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). If we take Him seriously, we’ll take away our pockets.

Billy Graham ripped out his pockets when he and his associates signed the Modesto Manifesto. They determined to avoid both the appearance and the opportunity for sexual impropriety, so they vowed never to be alone with a woman who was not their wife. This may strike some as severe, but it worked. Billy Graham has never been accused of sexual sin.

Still, the critics have a point. Our man-made rules may be wise, but we must distinguish them from God’s. The Pharisees wanted to make sure they never broke God’s commands, so they built a fence around the law. They figured if they never broke through the fence there was no way they could violate the actual law. But soon they mistook their fence law for God’s command. The Pharisees built a fence around the Sabbath by limiting how far people could walk and what they could carry, and then they completely missed the point when Jesus healed a lame man. “You can’t work on the Sabbath!”, they told the man when he started for home, “The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” (John 5:10).

Billy Graham wouldn’t have sinned if a woman had slipped into his elevator as its doors were closing, but his Modesto Manifesto did shut the door on some areas of sin. Where are you most tempted? Don’t stand there with your hands in your pockets. Rip them out.

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