The other day I was making dinner for the family and we had some potatoes to use up so I decided to make homemade chips. I’ve done it many times before and never had an issue.
I was in a positive mood and having fun and in my haste I put too many chips in at once. The oil boiled up really quickly spilling all over the hob and surfaces. It was steaming and smoking but thank God I managed to quickly remove the pan from the heat without spilling any on myself.
I began to call for help, any minute now the oil could erupt into a fire and I wouldn’t have a clue what to do – there is enough stuff on the surfaces to add ongoing fuel and I had no doubt the house would be up in flames before I could put it out.
Eventually my Dad came and switched the hob off using the master switch, covering the hob with a damp towel. We slowly and carefully cleaned up all the oil and tried to come up with an alternative solution to the dinner – I wasn’t in so positive a mood anymore!
The whole house smelt horrible but after a few days lingering, the smell went and we forgot about the incident. A week or so passed and one day during work I could hear my Mum calling help. I ran downstairs and once again the hob was smoking and steaming. Mum had only been boiling vegetables but there was a crack in the hob surface (we’ve known about it for a long time but never got it fixed) and during the accident the week before oil had pooled inside it so when the hob reached a certain temperature the collected oil began to set alight again.
The clean up this time was a bigger job. We had to remove the oven in order to get to the hob area – it was a good job we did because in doing so we found even more oil all pooled on the top of the oven. This had potential to have been a real disaster. We cleared everything up but now we really need to replace the hob!
I was quite upset, not only the fear of the fire but the fact the whole thing had been my fault. I felt I should be punished…but I wasn’t. God spoke to me so clearly in that situation. We have done so many things in our life that we deserve to be punished for but Jesus paid the price for all our sins and took the punishment for us instead. We are able to continue life with a clean slate in this knowledge.
But, in the same way that the second incident occurred with the collected oil, if we sin and we do not sort it out fully then it will come back later on as a bigger issue. It collects and festers and waits for another moment to trigger. When it comes back it will need a bigger clean up and in reality some things just cannot be fixed, they need to be replaced. In fact, if we had sorted out that small crack years ago then perhaps the oil would have never collected either.
This is like our life. We need to ensure we deal with the root causes of our issues so they do not come back. We need to ensure that when something little and seemingly insignificant creeps in that we weed it out before it plants itself. We need to push towards dealing with our sin in its fullness, not just sticking a plaster or bandage over the wound. We all have thorns in our flesh that need to be treated properly so they do not become infected or debilitating.
Like the smell in the house, when we sin the effects linger. After a few days we get used to it or it goes away – I’m great at this – I often think if I ignore something long enough then it will go away. But it doesn’t, not truly. We have to do the harder thing, addressing the issue and sorting it out. It may be deeper and messier than we first thought but we do not have to deal with it alone.
We all have weak spots but through prayer and the nurturing of the Holy Spirit we can address and overcome these. Jesus died that we do not have to wallow or remain in our sinful state. God does not promise life is easy and without hard work - let’s take time to focus on those vicious cycles that plague us and overcome them with the strength and support of God and the Holy Spirit. Let’s put our armour on so that we can withstand the effects of our sin and the continual temptations that come our way. Let’s work daily on becoming more Christlike and sorting out our issues, at the centre and the root so we can move forward in true freedom in Christ.
PS: I have now bought a fire extinguisher and fire blanket to keep in the kitchen…
2 Corinthians 12:10