The itch we must not scratch!

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Friday, May 24, 2019


“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 1:14-15.

Because of her allergy, my dog Ziva is always licking her front legs. She can sometimes lick her leg until they bleed. I’ve tried different medications prescribed by her vet. However, nothing has worked so far. The only way of preventing her from licking her legs continuously is by putting a cone in her head.

Ziva hates the cone. She always tries to take it off. I also noticed that if the cone stays in her head for too many days, she gets an ear infection. So I am in a very precarious position. I can’t let her continue to lick her leg, which usually leads to abrasions. I also cannot leave the cone in her head because I don’t want her to have an ear infection. The best thing would be for me to find the best medicine to help her manage her allergy.

We all have itches we should not scratch. These are bad habits, or addictive tendencies, or sinful attitudes, or fleshly desires that worsen when we indulge them. Some people are good at masking their itch. They pretend that scratching their itch is an adequate response to the temptation they cannot control.

In today’s text, the writer of James reminds us that scratching our itch to sin can lead to spiritual death. He wants believers to use the word of truth as the remedy against their itch to sin. Many people rely on religion as a way to control their itch. But all religions are like the cone that I put on Ziva’s head. They have side effects that can be as harmful as succumbing to our corrupt nature.

Jesus offers a cure for the cause of our itch and not an analgesic treatment. That cure is the gospel of truth. When we read the word and hide it in our heart, we are inoculating ourselves against the sinful virus associated with our carnal desires. That is why obedience to the Lord is better than sacrifice. When we obey the word of God, we develop the antibody and immunity to the sins that so easily beset us. Thus we can grow in wisdom and not be led astray by the desires of our flesh.

I have many itches that I cannot afford to scratch so as not to bring shame to the name of the Lord, or hurt my family, or disappoint the people that God has called me to serve in the vocation of pastoral ministry. Prayer and daily devotional reading of the word of truth keep me from scratching my itch without having to put a cone on my head.

In the Old Testament, Samson thought that he could scratch his womanizing itch and still fulfill his God-given purpose. He scratched that itch until he got a hair cut in the devil’s barbershop with Delilah as the barber. David made a similar mistake. He scratched the itch of his lustful heart by having affair an illicit affair with Bathsheba that led to incest, death, political upheaval, and civil war.

We have to learn to resist the devil when he is tempting us to scratch our itches. The desires of a lustful heart may seem harmless, but they can have deadly consequences. Most of us have caused more damages to self and the people in our social circle when we scratch our itch. We have to realize that just because something feels good does not make it so.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help us to develop the spiritual immunity to resist the temptations that are enticing us to a life of sin.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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