Sometimes the most dangerous attacks are not military ones. They are spiritual attacks. They come in attractive disguise - sex, money, fame, even peace. But the cost is abandoning God's Will and His purpose for our lives. Often our first "ante up" is so small, we don't recognize it for what it is. It's a white lie. A little peek. An extra bite. A rush of pride.
It doesn't overtake us immediately. Instead, it grows slowly. And we inevitably feed it well. At times we may notice that it is growing. We might even lock it in a closet and try to starve it for a while.
Then we miss it. We think maybe it wasn't all that bad after all. We crack the door to see how it is fairing.
Out it lunges with a terrifying leap, knocking us on our back.
Too late we realize we are at the mercy of the sin that seemed so harmless . . . like an attractive Midianite woman wandering into the camp of the Israelites.
It seems harsh to us to reflect on the vengeance taken against the Midianites, but it was God's mercy on the Israelites to destroy anything that would lead them back into sin. God calls us to apply this spiritually in our own life. We aren't called to take vengeance on other people, but to reflect on the sin we've allowed in our life and to take no prisoners. Fighting this battle in our own life leaves little time for pointing out sin in others. Or maybe that's just me?
As believers in Christ, we are free from the death our sin rightly deserves. Christ paid that debt for us. But we are not free of the lure or the consequences of sin in our lives. We choose each day, as the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and of righteousness, whether we will obey God or not.