The older I grow, the more I realize that life never really changes that much.
The older I grow, the more I realize that life doesn't even closely resemble what it used to be.
(Unless I miss my guess, anyone my age or older will find the above contradictions completely harmonious.)
Growing up, I was never tempted to showy sins. My transgressions were more the common garden variety, as tame and insipid and insidious as a bad attitude will be.
The ostentatious rebellions of some of my peers never held the seduction for me that it held for them. "Such maturity." my elders crooned. "Such cowardice." hissed my conscience.
Such is the burden a timid sinner bears. The honest acclamation of others, blissfully naive as they are, heaps mountains of smoldering coal upon one's head while one goes about sinning in secret with a fleeting hateful glare, a clandestine fit of temper, or a vile thought.
Living in the basking glow of approval, tremendous pressure is brought to bear on the secret sinner, as an admittance of guilt would bring down the entire, elaborate palace of cards.
And so it goes, endless, unless the hypocrite is confronted with his own deceit, cornered by the Hound of Heaven, with nowhere to run.
Thank God for the misery of conviction.
Thank God for salvation and entire sanctification.
And so, the battle won, the war progresses.
Like any canny defeated foe, the enemy resorts to guerilla warfare.
Twenty seven I am now, and more cognizant than ever that the adversary of our eternal life is so utterly tireless.
Life is good, contentment abides in our home, yet I thank God His Holy Spirit stands as sentry.
Still not tempted to showy sins, nor even prone to particularly embarrassing mistakes of spiritual etiquette, I stop to wonder sometimes, as a soldier who finds himself in a curious lull of battle, what new devilry awaits me.
It's quiet. . . . . too quiet.
What fiendish assault is plotted by my enemy?
Those who succumb to frontal, obvious temptations will always puzzle me.
For example, I'm completely baffled at the carelessness and foolhardiness of those who fall to adultery.
From where I am, I cannot see for the life of me how they got from here to there.
And yet, as I ponder over this, a crawling caution rises the hair on the back of my neck.
What if this spectacle of a fallen saint is a diversion?
What ambush of my own looms behind or overhead?
Of one thing I can be sure. The enemy exerted no more effort in bringing down the adulterer, than he exerts on me each and every day.
I wonder if those weary heroes policing the edgy streets of Fallujah or Tikrit sometimes long for the shock and awe of Baghdad. Memory dims the horror, I assume, but mightn't a massive, organized army out in front be less terrorizing than a lone suicide bomber strolling up behind you?
Be sober, be vigilant. The roaring lion now stalks silently, crouching in your blind spot.
No need to keep your finger on your pulse. But keep your powder dry.