I remember being mesmerized by the sight of fire at the age of 5. I would watch the yellow, red and orange tips of the fire dance around the air and had a hard time taking my eyes off the flames. Daily my dad and I would take the trash out of the house and would burn it in the fifty-gallon drums in back of our house. We would also burn thistles that would blow into our backyard and wedge themselves into corners of bushes 6-10 feet high. Those thistles when mixed with fire would burn incredibly hot but also fast and in a matter of minutes the pile would be down to nothing.
One day a friend of mine and I decided to take some matches and do some burning of our own. We went out back of Boren’s barn where there were a couple of small weeds we decided to burn next to the barn. We lit one match and then another and finally burned the weeds, but they were too small to sustain any fire, but the fire that came after is indelible in my mind to this day.
My dad found out what I had done and sat me down to talk about fire and the consequences of it. He had me light a match and hold it until I could hold it no longer. The fire hurt my finger and had to drop the match. He had me light another and another to have me experience what I had done for the fun of it. I never played with fire again and learned a valuable lesson about the effects of fire. There was a consequence for my actions that I still remember to this day.
Sin in our lives carries a consequence as Solomon wrote in II Chronicles. He was talking with God and said, “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; . . . (2 Chronicles 6:36-39 NIV) God was angry with the nation of Israel because they had sinned. He became angry with them. I do remember the anger that my dad had when he found out what I had done. He had a right to be angry because what I was doing was very dangerous and could have had major ramifications (burning up the barn). God was not only angry with them but gave them over to those that took them away from their families of origin.
All sin separates us from God, but the consequences will vary depending on the severity of the sin. I am reminded in Psalms 66:18 where the Psalmist says that if we have sin in our lives that we haven’t dealt with, the Lord will not hear us or hear our prayers. God chooses to disconnect from us when we have sin in our lives and haven’t asked forgiveness for that sin. This to me is the greatest consequence of our sin–DISCONNECTION FROM GOD. It doesn’t me that he has left us, but that He chooses not to commune with us until our sin is dealt with.
On this journey, it is important to realize the symptoms of sin and it’s consequences so that we can take steps to reestablish connection with the Master of this journey.