Are you carrying around a land mine?

Midnight blow-up
An explosion rocked a quiet neighborhood in McKinney, Texas, around midnight on Monday in May. A team of experts from Dyess Air Force Base destroyed a land mine in the backyard of a home on Westmoreland Drive.

McKinney code enforcement inspectors had discovered the device, a World War II-era land mine. Police called in the Plano bomb squad, who in turn called in the Air Force. "It was a training device, but it still had some inherent danger in it," said McKinney police Sergeant Steve Riley.

Family artifact
The family had found the mine in an Arizona field and had been moving it from house to house for 10 years. They didn't know it was still capable of exploding. Jesse Guzman, son in the family, said, "[I was] scared, shaken. I didn't know nothing about it. I didn't know what it was."

Spiritual land mine
The Bible in James 1:13-15 describes the process that leads from temptation to death. We encounter a temptation, which our own evil desires respond to. Those desires, once conceived, grow until they give birth to sin. Sin then starts to grow, until, at maturity, it kills our spiritual connection with God.

The point is to short-circuit this process as early as possible. Allowing it to continue unresisted is like taking a live land mine with you wherever you move your household.

Discharge the charge
How do we interrupt the desire-sin-death process? The same biblical writer offers help.

  • Recognize God is good and as our Father, gives us good gifts (James 1:17-18).

  • Prepare your heart to receive His gifts (James 1:19-21). This means you have to resolve to get rid of whatever would crowd God out of your life. He specifically mentions "moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent." Then, develop an attitude of humility, realizing your need for the spiritual life God wants to plant in you through His Word. (This means you carefully and constantly read the Bible.) As this spiritual seed grows toward maturity in your heart, it is able to save you because it brings your into contact with Jesus Christ, the only possible Savior.

  • Be willing to see yourself as God sees you (James 1:22-25). God's Word is like a spiritual mirror, revealing the beauty or ugliness of your heart. The promise is that if you will look intently into the Word and continue to do so, God will bless what you do.

  • Take action, both negatively and positively (James 1:26-27). Allowing God's Word to grow in your heart will bring changes in your life, in particular with regard to how you talk, how you treat people who are needy, and how you respond to new temptations. If you are willing to take action in these areas, the Word is taking root.

Or else!
Get rid of the bomb you are carrying around inside before it blows up, destroying both you and those you love around you. After all of the devastation and loss, what good will it do to confess, "I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know what it was"?

Steve Singleton,
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