“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…” (Heb. 12:1)
Puritan preacher, Thomas Brooks, wrote, “Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish.” We would be shocked, I am sure, to know how well the great Enemy of our souls knows us. We are tempted to think we are prone toward one sin above another because we are just “hard-wired” that way, when it may very well be that Satan created the appetite by first spoon-feeding us. We all know that taste is acquired as well as lost. If you have ever had to relinquish a particular food or spice for health reasons, you know that, after awhile, it loses its tantalizing qualities.
And it can be even traumatic if you experience a nasty bout with the food. For instance, I once experienced three straight bouts of severe vomiting after having consumed Mexican food. To this day, I instinctively recoil when a Mexican restaurant is suggested.
How would you define “besetting sins?” I think they’re the ones that are capable of surrounding us on all sides, eventually taking us captive. The ones that nibble first then hang on like a leach that cannot be shaken off. They rear their ugly heads over and over, refusing to take “No” for an answer. Finally, one must resort to outside help: Divine, for sure, and sometimes human.
Oddly enough, the sin that lays you low may not even cause a hiccup in my spiritual life; while the ball-and-chain that sometimes holds me back cannot even find a place to attach itself to you. For this reason, we are not always as patient with one another as we should be.
Paul admonishes us to lay aside these besetting sins, not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those around us, if we include them in that “great cloud of witnesses”; which I do. And though others may not be able to help, Peter says we have recourse: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations….” (2 Pet. 2:9). Fortunately, when Satan flashes his captivating bait and throws his overwhelming net over us, God is able to show us the holes in his net. Praise His Name!
As long as we are in these bodies, we will never be rid of our old sin nature; we will sin. But we can be conscious of those ever present ones, “which so easily beset us,” and we can allow the Holy Spirit of God to dull our appetites for them…even if He has to make us sick to do it.