Toxic Attractions [Part 1]

Are you ready for some good news?

In Christ, we are being transformed by grace so that our lives line up with God’s truth.

Today’s Text: “Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.” (2 Samuel 13:1–3, ESV)

The dark, heart-wrenching story of Amnon’s toxic attraction to his sister Tamar, typifies how twisted human desire can become. There is an answer in the Gospel. God’s Word isn’t designed to curb toxic attractions; it is purposed to transform desire itself.

We have a beagle, a hound dog, who is a hunter of mice, squirrel, and other vermin. Every now and then he will bring one of these prizes into the house. One day I had barely opened the door to the sunroom, and the smell hit like an awful wave. Something was dead in that room, and my biggest challenge in getting rid of that dead thing was going to be the dog himself. He was convinced that he had delivered a wonderful treasure. While I tried to remove that putrid thing from the corner of the room, I was fighting off my hound dog, who is trying to sniff, lick, grab, and run with it.

Somehow this thing that so repulses me actually smells good to the dog. If left to his own devices, he probably would roll around on top of the thing for the sheer delight of smelling like it himself.

It made me wonder how the things we are attracted to smell to God. It is quite possible for us to be convinced that the wrong thing is right. Deceit can become a way of life when our minds and souls are totally focused on getting some seeming treasure that is lacking.

God wants to give us a new sense of smell. He wants to enable us to perceive reality differently. If you’re addicted to something, or if you are stuck in a particular sin, “The truth will set you free!” (John 8:32) You get free when the truth that you exchanged for a lie is converted. When we are living in truth, death will smell like death, and life will smell attractive. We don’t get converted in just one moment when we first accept Christ; we are being converted. We are transformed daily, seeing the truth more and more by the light of Jesus. And that’s the gospel!

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