“Kick the bucket,” “pushing up daisies,” “go belly up,” “bite the dust,” “bought the farm,” “cash in his chips,” “dead as a doornail.” “Circling the drain.”
I heard all these euphemisms for death and dying when I was a boy, especially in old movies. I don’t hear so many of them today, or maybe I simply avoid the topic of death. One that I could identify with was the last one, “circling the drain.”
As a child, my brothers and I loved to swim in the Finley River which meandered through the farm where we grew up. Sometimes we would go upstream to Riverdale, an old mill and dam, and float back to our farm. On the way back, we would stop at Blue Hole and swim, for even when waters were shallow, Blue Hole always had enough water to dive and swim. It was inevitable that somewhere along the float trip, conversation would turn to whirlpools.
Whole floating we would sometimes pass a whirlpool, but never the life-threatening sink holes that one found on the James River, the larger stream that lay a few miles down from our farm. The James, it was said, was full of whirlpools that would suck swimmers and boaters to the bottom and drown them. Every year, we heard stories of new drownings.
Turns out the stories are based on facts. There were significant numbers of drownings on the rivers of Southwest Missouri when I was a kid. The whirlpools – the deadly kind – were not just turbulent eddies, but sink holes that opened into underground rivers and caverns. Get near one of those, and it would suck a swimmer straight to the bottom.
Sin acts the same way, for those Christians who are weak in their faith and still flirt with sin, it takes little temptation to lead them into sin. Sin, without fail, leads to eventual death. Sin sucks got right in and – once it has you – there is no escape. It is a bottomless pit that leads to death, a whirlpool from which the is no escape. Sin, when it claps is wicked hands around your throat, does not easily turn loose.
Only Christ can compel sin to loosen is grip on your heart. Only Christ can toss you a life saver.
At a local amusement park in Branson Missouri, there was -in the 1960s – a ride called The Float Trip. On one turn was an artificially constructed whirlpool with a manikan perpetually circling it, as if condemned to an eternity of drowning. The ride has been transformed and renamed. The lifelike dummy is gone now, but the whirlpool remains. Temptation always remains, but Christ can transform you so that you no longer dive into it.
Holiness is, perhaps, the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Anyone who has striven to follow the life of Christ can likely tell you that it is impossible to do. No one can match His love, His grace, or His compassion. For no one but Jesus is perfect. Once the believer is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, though, he or she is filled to the brim with the love of Christ, and desires nothing more than to please God and follow in Christ’s steps. The love of sin is gone. In its place is a love and passion for others. That is Christian Holiness. This is Christian Holiness Daily.