Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:12-15.

In Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana feeding an alligator can cost you a $500.00 fine and 30 days in jail. It seems strange that they are taking this so seriously when many promotional materials from Louisiana promote one of the exciting things to do when visiting is to feed alligators. However, feeding an alligator can literally cost you an arm and a leg. Alligators place everything into two categories – food and non-food. If human beings feed alligators, they then place humans in the food category. Feeding a baby gator is cute but a hungry nine footer is more trouble than most of us want. Deputy Howard McCrea says that he was forced to haul away 250 nuisance alligators just last year.

Temptation is much like a baby alligator in that it looks on the surface as being harmless. We take the baby temptation home with us and begin to feed it and what happens? It grows. It grows from temptation into sin. Sin unlike an alligator is never full and is always hungry. Sin like an alligator grows and grows as it is fed more and more. Feeding a nine-foot alligator requires substantial resources and time. Caution must be used because the alligator will eat you if you are careless. Sin as it grows requires more and more resources and time to be devoted to its maintenance. Caution must be used with sin as well because it will destroy you if it can. Sin when it is full grown results, according to James, in death. The end result of playing with the baby temptation is death.

There are some obvious lessons here for us. If we are involved in sin of any kind or form, it is harmful to us. How do we stop the sin once we are involved? Stop feeding it! Stop devoting time and resources to the sin. Cut the sin monster off and it will eventually begin shrinking. The less you engage in the sin the less power it will have over you. The more distance you put between you and the sin, the more free you will be and feel.

The penalty for feeding an alligator is $500.00 and 30 days in jail (It could be an arm and a leg or worse.) The penalty for feeding sin is death. Thank God that even though the wages of sin are death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23)!

(Temptation is always a dangerous beast.)

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