By Tyler Warner
On the west coast of the United States there is a pitcher plant called the cobra lily. It’s a carnivorous plant that lures insects inside its stem and traps them to their death. Sin is the same way. Sin is attractive and tempting, but it closes its jaws on us before we realize anything has gone wrong.
The cobra lily has two long leaves that hang down from its “mouth” that drip with sweet nectar. It attracts the flies that then fly into the plant to taste the sweetness. This is how sin begins. It feels good to get high, or to gossip about a coworker, or to lose your temper at the grocery store. And it keeps us coming back for more.
But the head of the cobra lily is mottled, allowing sunlight to come through in patches. This confuses the insects, who cannot find the exit because the light is coming from all directions. When we make a habit out of sin, even when we realize it’s not doing us any good, we can feel stuck. We forget how to speak without cursing, or to eat without overindulging.
The frantic flies end up flying down the stalk of the cobra lily, where the pitcher plant has stiff fibers pointing downward that allow the insect to go down – but not back up. The more we struggle with sin, the harder it becomes to resist. We no longer feel in control, and things just get worse and worse. We know that our lies are getting us in trouble, but we’ve woven so many, to get rid of one would be to unravel the others.
Finally, at the bottom of the cobra lily’s stem is a pool of digestive acids that trap the unlucky insects and slowly digests them and absorbs them into its veins. If you indulge in sin too long, your very identity becomes unrecognizable, and there is nothing left of the way things used to be. This is most obviously true with addicts – drugs, alcohol, pornography – but the same can be true for greed, or laziness, or violence.
God told Cain in Genesis 4 that his sin was crouching at the door, lying in wait for him, and that he needed to rule over it. The best way to overcome a sin cycle is to never start one in the first place. Prioritize virtue and discipline in your life. But the good news is that no matter how far we have fallen, we have a Rescuer. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins, and with Him, there is no such thing as “stuck”. He liberates us from the penalty of sin, and then shows us a better way to live.
Tyler Warner is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Trussville. CCT meets on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, at 5239 Old Springville Rd. Listen to Tyler’s verse-by-verse Bible teaching at CalvaryChapelTrussville.com or Sundays at 8:30am on 101.1 FM.