Entangled

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1


Lighthouses have been an inspiration for many painters, filmmakers, and writers, including yours truly. One such inspired individual is Russian artist, Nikolay Polissky. Born in 1957 in Moscow, Nikolay is known for his impressive, handcrafted structures in the middle of Russia’s vast countrysides.  He employs local area residents to help him in the creation of his large scale sculptures. What I find particularly impressive about his work is that he uses natural materials such as branches, vines, trunks, and wooden furniture. Nikolay has built over 25 structures in the past 15 years. One of his most famous and longstanding land-art projects is the LIGHTHOUSE ON UGRA (pictured above and below). It stands 39 feet tall and was made using dead elm tree trunks that were entwined (entangled) into a gigantic tower. This amazing piece of art attracts locals and visitors year round.

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The Lighthouse on Ugra reminds me of sin and how easy it can entangle us. As God’s lighthouses to the world, we need to be aware of the fact that people will also be attracted to us. Not necessarily because of how we look, but because of how we live. Therefore, our lifestyle needs to represent a true lighthouse. A lifestyle that is built on a solid foundation (faith in Jesus) and whose walls (principles) are reinforced with steel (prayers). One whose ascending stairs (spiritual growth) are firmly secured in place (obedience to God’s word). And one whose lantern room (heart) is brightly shining (testifying of God’s love) to guide all who are lost at sea (living aimlessly without eternal hope). So we must be extremely careful not to get entangled by anything that will compromise us spiritually or morally such as, the cares of life, the temptations of the flesh, and the philosophies of this world. If we carelessly succumb to these, we may still retain the shape and form of a lighthouse but we will become like the Lighthouse on Ugra, (spiritually) dead and hollow.

Many of us make the mistake of thinking that giving in to sin is easier for new Christians and those who neglect spiritual disciplines than for matured and disciplined Believers. But that couldn’t be farther away from the truth. We have to realize that the enemy of our souls knows no boundaries when it comes to distracting and steering us away from God. We know that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but neither is Satan. In fact, his attack on those who are strong in faith is even greater and more relentless. We should never become cocky about our Christianity. Our boast should be only in the Lord and on what He has done for us and in us. It would behoove us to remember Paul’s words to the Corinthians…

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Have you ever noticed the way vines grow? Perhaps you’ve witnessed how they cover up areas in just a matter of months. Time lapse videos show their amazing entwining abilities. They twist and climb by attaching themselves strongly to any supporting structure. Eventually, they end up completely engulfing whatever they cling to.

Sin is pretty much like a vine. It starts off small and seemingly non-threatening like a pretty budding flower. But no sooner said than done, it anchors itself strongly to our soul (mind, will, and emotions) and it begins to grow relentlessly like a devouring virus. No wonder the author of Hebrews says that it “easily” entangles. And let us not fall into the trap of thinking that we only have to be careful with “big” sins. Sexual immorality, larceny, murder and drug addiction are no greater sins than gossip, coveting, vanity, apathy, and other seemingly “small” sins. Sin is sin period! It is missing the mark of righteousness and it is what grieves the Spirit of God. Actually, according to the Apostle Paul…

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We all know that sin is very attractive. That is why the temptation to succumb to it is very powerful. It can begin as a small and insignificant desire, but if not dealt with immediately and if left unattended it can become spiritually fatal. The Apostle James tells us that…

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For this reason, we cannot afford to glance at, touch or give ear to, not even for a second, the unrighteous desires of the flesh or the luring vanities of this world. James the Apostle give us this warning…

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Remember, sin is ANYTHING that isn’t pleasing to God. It may be something we do, say or think. Even selfish motives can sprout a vine of sin, so we must quickly nip it in the bud to prevent it from entangling us and separating us from God and His will for our lives. But should we get entangled by the tendrils of sin, we can find hope in the words of the Apostle John who says…

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and again he says…

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Knowing that there is a Master gardener who can cut and untangle sin in our lives just as quickly as it can take a hold of us is more than reassuring and comforting. It is a hope that guarantees us freedom from shame, guilt, and self-condemnation, which can also entangle us even more! 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me from getting entangled by the tendrils of sin. Guard my heart and mind against the unrighteous desires of the flesh, the luring temptations of this world, and the lies of the devil. May I remain a strong mighty lighthouse that will not compromise and continue to shine your love until the day you return or call me into eternity, amen.


-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
PHOTO
Featured Image: Image by Ksenia Smirnova / CC BY 2.0

Other lighthouse images (2004) courtesy of Nikolay Polissky

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7 thoughts on “Entangled

  1. Beautiful written, as usual. I especially like this quote. “Knowing that there is a Master gardener who can cut and untangle sin in our lives just as quickly as it can take a hold of us is more than reassuring and comforting.” Thank God for our Master gardener who prunes and takes cares of our Spiritual lives as we let him water us with his Word. For that, I am so grateful! Love you! Your wife, Mari

    Liked by 1 person

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