At the end of sixth grade, my school planned a trip commemorating leaving middle school and moving on to junior high. The entire grade was going for the end-of-the-year celebration at Ouray Hot Springs. It is an incredible aquatic center with pools and natural hot springs, surrounded by the beautiful San Juan Mountain range. I was unsupervised, and 12-year-old boys do not think about sunscreen or how intense the UV rays are at nearly 8,000 feet of elevation. It was the WORST sunburn I have ever received. I turned into a blistered red tomato. Even worse was that my family drove to Yellowstone for summer vacation the following day.
Because I didn’t consider the consequences of my actions, I had to ride for 10 hours buckled into a car… suffering from 2nd-degree burns.
I learned a lot about sunburns that summer. For starters, the effects of sunburns are maximized 36-48 hours after you are first burned. You won’t necessarily feel the consequences until after you are burned. Next, sun exposure is cumulative.
The more you are exposed to UV rays, the more you have damaged your skin.
When you are feeling the effects of sunburn, the best thing you can do is get out of the sun and cover up. This is how you should prevent that initial sunburn from compounding. Finally, the absolute worst part about sunburns is sleeping; your body radiates heat, and you are in no comfortable position.
These realities correlate to the effects of sin in our lives. We don’t often feel the consequences until long after transgressing God’s will. Our minds become clouded, and we can’t perceive which way to go. Jesus says this is like having a great darkness in our lives. We perceive the world as dark, and others see us as having darkness within us. Paul goes on to say that this darkness keeps us from understanding.
Matthew 6:22-23 – “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
Ephesians 4:17-20 ESV” “17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!”
When you are actively dealing with sin, its effects are cumulative; it becomes easier to give in to temptations and harder to avoid the same pitfalls in our lives. This is the concept of yeast working through the dough, and the only option is to cover up and prevent prolonged exposure. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is refuting some poor theology, and he says this corrupts the congregation.
1 Corinthians 15:32-34 ESV – “32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good “orals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.”
Paul states that there are those who face death with a flippant and dismissive attitude, even inviting sin into their lives. This flawed thinking is dangerous, and Paul asserts it is corrupting. The best approach is to approach everything with a sober judgment so that we do not become corrupted.
Finally, when we are enveloped in sin, our souls have no rest. We become consumed and cannot find a way out. We are weary from the constant turmoil in our lives. Isaiah gives us the antithesis of that sentiment as he discusses a new King and kingdom.
Isaiah 32:1-2, 17-18 – “Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. 2 Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land… 17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. 18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
In my life, I have been scorched by the effects of the sun and, many times, by sin. I have recognized that I must take precautions when both surround me. Complacency with either factor typically ends with harmful effects. I have learned that I must limit my direct exposure; otherwise, it will rob me of peace and rest in my life. If I become complacent, then I am at risk of getting sunburned.