George set the soccer ball on the hash mark and readied himself to take the penalty shot. It was his favorite part of soccer practice. When Coach Johnson blew the whistle, George kicked a rocket into the top right corner of the net. "GOAAAAAL!" he yelled.
He was about to high-five Coach Johnson on his way to the back of the line when he suddenly stopped and began scratching his arm furiously.
"What's wrong, George?" Coach Johnson asked. "Let me have a look."
"These bumps won't stop itching," George said. "I got poison ivy last weekend. I wish it would go away already!"
"Don't scratch it," Coach Johnson said.
"I can't help it!" George said. "It feels so good!" He was about to scratch some more but stopped when he saw Coach Johnson's raised eyebrow.
"It may feel good for the moment, but you're only making it worse. Look how red it's getting," Coach said. "You know, George, this reminds me of the sermon my pastor gave at church last week. Your rash is a lot like sin."
"You mean it's a sin to scratch?" George asked.
Coach Johnson chuckled. "No, it's not a sin to scratch. What I mean is that our sinful nature often urges us to do wrong just like your bumps urge you to scratch them. What happened at last Saturday's game when that kid tripped you after you blocked his goal?"
"I went to push him down from behind, but then I stopped and walked away," George said.
Coach nodded. "It would have felt good for two seconds to get that kid back, but then what?
"I would've made it worse by getting kicked out," George looked at his coach. "I'm glad I didn't scratch the itch to get even."
Coach smiled. "The Bible teaches that wanting to do wrong will never fully go away until we get to heaven. But once we trust Jesus as Savior, we have the choice and the power to not listen to our urges to sin and to follow the urges God puts in our hearts instead--urges to do what pleases Him. We don't have to scratch the itch to do wrong."
"Okay," George said. "I won't scratch the itch--whether it's sin or poison ivy!" Robert A. GutierrezHOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you sometimes want to do wrong things? Even a Christian has urges to sin. But guess what? You don’t have to! Jesus freed you from the power of sin when you accepted Him as your Savior. When you feel the urge to sin, remember that Jesus gives you the power to say no.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Romans 8:12 (NLT) (KJV)
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
*Verse displayed is NKJV