Run! If you are stung by a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket, you must run or risk being stung again—or possibly attacked by more of these insects, as the original one leaves behind a chemical that marks you as the enemy. Fear can creep up just hearing those words! Did you know these stings can even be so severe they cause death? The venom is poisonous and can cause direct harm to the human body. When serious medical problems or death occur, it is often because of an allergic reaction. In the US, about forty deaths due to a fatal allergic reaction are reported each year. Although death is not always the case, intense pain, redness, and swelling occur almost immediately. Other side effects may include hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and chest pain.
I know someone who avoids wasps at all costs. If there is wasp in the house, she leave and doesn’t come back until it is eliminated. She won’t return or dare sleep in the house with that little demon-creature lingering, plotting to attack when least expected. Wasps outside? She leaves the area and will not return. She simply finds an alternate route. There are some popular tips online about how to avoid wasps, which include keeping drinks covered when outdoors, ensuring trashcans are tightly sealed, and picking up any fruit that has fallen from trees, as their sweet juices can attract wasps. If you find one in your home, you can use WD-40 or wasp spray in your time of need.
Do we deal with sin the same way we deal with wasps? Do we immediately avoid it at all costs? Jesus said, "If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matt. 5:30). Sin harms you from the inside out. The side effects can be severe—even unto death. Go to the extreme to get rid of sin. Be SMART!
- Satan (also known as the tempter [see Matt. 4:3])— The Bible teaches that we are not ignorant of his devices (see 2 Cor. 2:11), so be aware, for "your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
- Move—Get away from the things that tempt you. You know what they are. Do not look, do not taste, do not handle. Just like wine "bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper" (Prov. 23:32) so does sin.
- Avoid the sin—"Lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [you]" (Heb. 12:1). Avoid going to places that tempt you to sin. Avoid hanging around people who encourage you to sin, for bad company corrupts good habits (see 1 Cor. 15:33).
- Run—Look to the faithful in the Bible. Learn from them. Joseph literally ran when tempted to commit adultery with a woman who was in hot pursuit of him (see Gen. 39:11-12). Paul the apostle taught young Timothy to flee youthful lusts (see 2 Tim. 2:22). Run!
- Turn—If you fall into sin, do not lose heart. Just don’t stay there! The Lord promises that if we turn to Him and confess our sins, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Yes, all unrighteousness.
Though a righteous man may fall seven times, he will rise again (see Prov. 24:16). Though we fall, though we are stung by that wasp, we can get back up again. That is the power of the gospel. The power of the blood of Jesus. So let’s be SMART together and proclaim, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). Wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and even sin have nothing on the believer in Christ Jesus!
[i] Suzanne DeJohn, "All About Yellow Jackets, Bees and Their Kin," http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/yellow-jackets/7700.html, accessed 6/19/14.
[i]i Marion Berg, "Bee and Wasp Stings," May 20, 2014, http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bee_and_wasp_stings/page3_em.htm , accessed 6/19/14.
[i]ii Nikki Phipps, "How To Kill Wasps: How To Eliminate Wasps From Your Yard," http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/kill-wasps.htm, accessed 6/19/14.
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