A Typical Pond
Ponds are interesting places. As a young boy growing up in New Jersey, sometimes I would wander down through our small orchard on hot muggy summer days to a wooded area with two small ponds. This was my private place for practicing skipping stones as well as enjoying the effects of a rock slamming down into water.
Undoubtedly you too have watched a perfectly glass smooth surface be destroyed by a single rock making its stupendous splash entry. Then the concentric ripples begin to expand until they strike the shore only to bounce back again. And if you launch a whole chorus of rocks out onto a pond, tranquility is shattered by visual chaos.
Your Life as Your Pond
The next time you are tempted to speak or act in a manner unbecoming of the calling we have received to serve God, remember what a rock does to a pond. Ungodly actions and words are very much like throwing rocks into the pond of your life. Whoever thinks that “this rock will not make any difference” is only foolishly deceiving himself. Although at first a person might not even perceive the consequences, they do follow. The more that a person succumbs to throwing rocks in his or her pond, the choppier, more chaotic and complex he will discover life to become.
To Throw or Not To Throw – That is the Question
Since God is not mocked because a person really does reap what he sows and God’s word points us to the truly good life, why do we encounter such strong urges (temptations) to hurl rocks into our ponds? There are several reasons including the fact that the soul under assault will often focus on some immediate gratification instead of giving thought to the long term effects and how this will affect his service of discipleship.
It is easy to focus upon the promises of such pleasures as: reveling in the thought “they will know that I’m in the know” (gossip), savoring the idea of seeking revenge, saving our own skin by deliberating omitting some of the truth (lying), lustfully contemplating some immoral fantasy, or simply being driven by the promise of what “having more” will mean (greed). When the drive to satisfy such internal desires is strong, it is common for a person to feel “confused” as his or her craving wages war against the knowledge of what is right.(2)
Preserving & Restoring Your Pond
Through Christ, God has made it possible for our lives to be restored so that we can have peace with God and live with a pure conscience. Tranquility can be returned to our souls. There is real hope for lives trapped in the chaos of sin.
However, the cleansing blood of Christ does not erase all of the consequences of our behaviors. Reputations might still be destroyed. Not all human relationships may be restored. Physical ailments might continue to linger. Some of the effects of sin will continue to ricochet.
Although our guiding motivation should be wrapped up in lovingly serving God and not be merely shaped by what we consider to be pragmatic, nevertheless a heart caught in the struggle of temptation can find additional encouragement to pursue godliness by remembering the continuing power ungodly ripples have for disrupting life. Since desires are fueled by thoughts, pondering the future havoc a rock can wreck upon life can assist a contemplative person to remember that God’s ways truly are seeking our best interests while also quieting the evil impulse to throw more rocks in the pond of life.
The next time we are tempted to speak or act in a manner unbecoming of the calling we have received to serve God, remember what a rock does to a pond. Let’s remember the real consequences, both practical and spiritual. Let’s avoid the temporary illusion which fuels the desire and which comes from just focusing on how good we think we will feel.
(1) Galatians 6:7-8; Deuteronomy 10:12-13
(2) James 1:14