At the risk of hyper-spiritualizing my choice of snacks, I was eating some microwave popcorn, realized my hand had gotten too greasy and salt covered to touch the keyboard, and it hit me: Microwave popcorn is a lot like sin! I’m not saying that it’s a sin to eat microwave popcorn, but there is some interesting similarities.
I had come home to the smell of buttery popcorn drifting through the house, a result of someone’s afternoon snack. I managed to resisted the immediate urge to pop a bag into the microwave. But the buttery scent, and more importantly, the memory of that smell, persisted. My nose twitched, my mouth watered, my stomach growled.
So,where is this great analogy? What can popcorn possibly teach us?
- Sin attracts.
Sin often has an attractive scent, an pleasing sound, and enticing look. How man men would be addicted to porn if all of the women looked and dresses like Queen Elizabeth II?
How many of us would be guilty of glutton if ice cream and brownies tasted like liver and onions? How many of you would play the lottery if the maximum pay out was $1.49 ? Would I have popped another bag of popcorn in the microwave if it smelled like a wet dog or looked like lima beans – I think not.
- Temptation lingers.
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves that we have “beat temptation”. Resisting temptation is a good thing, but God has a better plan – “Run away!” 1 Cor 10:13 promises that God will always provided a way of escape (run away!) when faced with temptation. Paul says to “flee from idolatry ( 1 Cor 10:14 )”, “flee immorality”(1 Cor 6:18 ), “flee from youthful lusts”(2 Tim 2:22 ). Temptation tends to linger, if not in the air like that buttery popcorn smell, it lingers in the place or situation we encountered it. Thinking it’s okay to see how long we can resist or how close we can get to sin without giving in is another kind of sin, called “pride”. Whether it is a website with pornographic ads, or a restaurant with a hopping bar scene, every time we go back, the temptation is going to be there, waiting.
- We choose.
In the end, “to sin or not to sin” is a choice. Yes, the flesh is weak. Yes, the enemy deceives us. Yes, we are subject to all manner of temptations, but we are responsible for our sins. We can not divorce ourselves from our flesh – what “it” does, we do. We can’t blame the enemy, the Devil didn’t make us do it. We can’t blame Adam and his gift to us of a sin nature. We bare the full responsibility for our transgressions against a righteous God.
As I look at the greasy finger prints on my touchpad, I can try to blame Orville Redenbacher, But, those are clearly my finger prints – no need to call CSI.