Monday, February 7, 2011

In Which I Admit to Liking Opera

I understand that the opening thoughts of this post are fraught with danger. But I'm manly enough to face those dangers. And more than that I can defeat them. So here goes-I like opera. Now let me qualify that. I like it occasionally. And in small doses. And only certain pieces. La Donna e Mobile from Rigoletto, for example (BTW, fellas, that translates to "women are fickle". Now who can't agree with that?). Nessun Dorma from Turandot is another. Beautiful, powerful piece of art.

And so the other day I thought I would be all cultural and what not and added these songs to my playlist on Pandora. Now one might think that this is a great idea. However, I failed to take into account Pandora's rather loose grouping of songs and genres. Since I plugged in these songs that I enjoy I've been bombarded with caterwauling the likes of which one would scarcely believe possible. If that makes me an uncultured Philistine then so be it. There are some things no man can withstand.

It was during one of these sonic assaults that I realized the sin I struggle with and wrestle against behaves very much like these unwanted pieces of music. Let me explain. I wanted a couple specific songs in my playlist. But the specifics of the Pandora program is that you don't just get those specifics; you get other stuff with it. And sin behaves in the same way. When we are tempted to sin, when we are enticed by the wickedness that resides in our fallen flesh, we want that specific desire to be fulfilled; but we don't want any of the other things that accompany sin. Problem is, it doesn't work that way. Galatians 6:7-8 warn us, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." See how it's a "part and parcel" sort of deal? We can't get the fleshly fulfillment from sin without also receiving the spiritual consequence of it. James says it this way: "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and when sin it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:14-15).

So when I plug a sin into my life, when I choose to fulfill that lust, that desire, that act of immorality, there is a time of fulfillment in my flesh. Proverbs 9:17 says, "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." There is a time of enjoyment, a time when the flesh is fulfilled and all seems OK. But then those acts of immorality begin to germinate; that sowing that we did begins to bring the harvest; a harvest of corruption and death. The lesson for us is very plain; if we would avoid the consequence of sin, we must avoid the action of sin.

Be careful what you plug into your life. Be careful what you allow to reside there. You might think it's just a small sin, just a little thing. But the fact is that the wages of sin-all sin-is death. Rather than find fulfillment in the temporal joys of the flesh run to the cross and find your fulfillment in the all-sufficient savior who loved us and gave Himself for us. Look to Jesus for your hope, your joy and your satisfaction. And if you listen to opera, by all means don't blog about it.

Father, thank You that You love me in spite of my sin. Thank You that You saved me knowing I would continue to struggle with sin, and fall to it. Help me to look to You for all things. And help me be mindful of the dangers of sin. Help me to be so taken with You that nothing in this world appeals to me. Amen.

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