It was early Monday morning or late Sunday Night. I'm not really sure which. I was sound asleep when I woke up to this funny smell. Now, it's kind of embarrassing, but when I first smelled it, in my sleepy brain, I thought it was something wrong with my pillow. The pillow that didn't have anything wrong with it when I went to bed. But anyways, I kept ignoring it. After waking up several times though, I decided it must be my room and sleepily stumbled out to our living room. Later that morning, once it was actually the waking hours, my mom and brother went out to take care of our bees, and suddenly it was really strong... It smelled like... natural gas? They closed up all the windows, but the smell got so bad we had to leave our house for a while. It wasn't very fun! And it smelled so bad!
Thankfully it wasn't natural gas, and we're all ok. But it was a waste oil smell, which has bothered my family if we go outside when the smell is strong. Apparently a recycling facility in the area is working on testing their chemical ponds and because of the 105-110 degree temperatures it is spreading. Not good.
But as I thought through the situation, I realized that it can teach us so many lessons about a relationship with God. Now, if you're scratching your head, don't worry. Hopefully it will all make sense shortly. :)
1. Sin Stinks (Pun sort-of intended)
This might sound kind of cliché, but it's true! Sin has dangerous consequences! Sometimes it is easy to down play sin - our culture does it all the time: we call it a mistake, an accident, a white lie, or whatever. But sin is sin - no name can mask its consequences.
When we are faced with the temptation of sin, we have a few different choices: We can give in, we can flee, or we can fight.
The first option we know isn't good. This would be like me and my family staying in our house with the smell - we know it's making us sick, but we don't want to deal with it. But it still has the same effects, even if we ignore it. And it separates us from God.
What about fleeing sin? Just like with the smell, I think there are times we just need to "get out of there." If we stay, we are likely to give in. I'm reminded of the story of Joseph, when he was tempted by Potiphar's wife. He fought the temptation for a while, but on that terrible, final day he fled. He knew he needed to get out of there fast! Joseph wasn't a coward for running away - he showed his strength by leaving when it would be easier to give in.
And the last option - fight it. Sometimes we need to stand up. Sometimes we need to defend what is right. But we must also use caution to not get pulled into the sin by staying in the temptation - there is a time to stand, and a time to flee.
The important thing to remember most of all is that sin has consequences - it may make us sick; we will feel guilty; ultimately it separates us from God.
2. We Can't Get Rid of Sin On Our Own
When we smelt that horrible smell, we couldn't make it go away. We couldn't even be outside without something over our face! There was no way we could take care of it on our own. So we called the gas company, the fire department, who then told us to call 9-1-1... And eventually it was taken care of (for that day at least).
Sin is the same way. We can't get rid of it ourselves. We try so hard! I'm reminded of the faithful horse in Animal Farm whose motto was, "I'll work harder." I think we sometimes tend to be the same way. We strain and pull, trying to rid ourselves of the weight of our sin, but instead, it just weighs us down and eventually breaks us.
Jesus doesn't call us to fix it ourselves. He didn't pay the down payment and we have to pay the rest of the debt. He did it all!
Now, before I go any farther, we definitely have a part in it. We need to fight sin, flee from it, work on our walk with the Lord. But we can't fix it ourselves.
One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 12:1-2: "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
In verse two, it shares the way we can run our race - "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." It's only through Jesus that we can run our race. Only through Jesus can we be cleansed!
Only through Jesus can the stench of sin be taken away.
3. Freedom and Joy in Christ
After leaving our home to flee the smell, I'm sure you can imagine how good it was to be able to breathe clean air again. To not feel like our throat was closing was amazing!
When we submit to the Lord, when we allow Him to work on removing the sin from our lives (with our participation of course), we have so much freedom and joy! We can breathe clearer, we can trust better, and we can shine brighter.
We don't have to fix the problem and stench of sin on our own. We don't have to fight alone. We don't have to work harder to pay the price. When we have accepted the Lord as our Savior, He has already paid the price. Galations 5:1 reminds us not to get caught up in trying to earn it: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
Now, until we reach heaven, we won't be sin-free. We're still going to deal with the effects of sin because none of us can ever be completely perfect. But when we struggle, we can run to the One Who can help us, the One Who can aid us in fighting temptation, the One Who loves us.
Hopefully you never have to deal with a waste oil smell, but the next time an offensive odor crosses your path, remember the goodness of God, the danger of sin, and the way back. :)
Hi! My name is Hannah, and I enjoy playing piano, writing, hanging out with my family, and spending time with my Lord and Savior. Hope you are blessed!