Have you seen children play the “shark” game? I did on Sunday afternoon. A houseful of families gathered at our friends’ home to celebrate the arrival of their second child. Hordes of young children swarmed the ground floor chasing, playing and generally having a blast.
Suddenly the child-covered lounge floor erupted. A shark was on the loose! One youngster was the shark attempting to satisfy its appetite for a tasty child-morcel. The other children screamed that special kid-squeal of fear/laughter/excitement. Small hands grabbed adults and clambered up legs onto laps.
It was an innocent (if loud) and fun game, but something tugged at the back of my mind even as five children clung to me for dear life. All Christians are escapees. As Peter put it we are able to, “participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:4 NIV11-GK). In some ways the devil was our ‘shark’, and he still operates in shark-infested waters. We do well to stay out of those waters. How can we stay safe? Three tips.
- Don’t go back into the water. “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20 NIV11-GK). The water might look inviting, but it contains an enemy. Determine never to go back to the old way of life. Confess temptations to someone else.
- Listen to the warnings. “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” (Hebrews 2:1–3 NIV11-GK). Complacency begins when we stop listening to the warnings of the Bible and those who speak the Bible to us. Our personal Bible study is vital if we are to stay safe from the shark.
- Rescue others. “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25–26 NIV11-GK). Teaching others with patience and love helps them escape. We are not about to jump back into the waters while in the act of rescuing another.