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Swimming with Piranhas

One summer Saturday, I joined my sister’s family for a visit to an aquarium. I’m not talking about the kind of aquarium people put in their living rooms. Rather, we visited a marine museum that featured live fish. This aquarium contained numerous “aquariums” of all sizes along with other educational displays.  

One of those clear-sided containers held several small tropical fish. Swimming in the same tank were piranhas. Piranhas, of course, are also small tropical fish, but they were the bigger of the two species. The difference, other than size and shape, is reputation. While the little guys will eat anything smaller than themselves, they aren’t famous for sharp teeth or for traveling in large schools of dangerous predators. They’re just fish. The piranhas are known killers. The signs at the aquarium claimed that such stories have been exaggerated, but piranhas have even been reported to have attacked humans. These guys aren’t something you’d want to be in the same tank with--especially if you happened to be a smaller fish.

But a closer look told a different story. A thick but clear plastic wall separated the little guys from the killers. They could swim all day long in the same tank, but the piranhas would have to wait until a keeper brought their lunch. It’s amazing how much difference an invisible wall makes.

Spiritually, we’ve got an enemy more dangerous than any piranha. The stories about the devil aren’t particularly exaggerated. He would gladly suck us into sin so deep that we’d never be able to free ourselves. He’d gladly leave us with diseased bodies, polluted minds, and empty hearts. He’d like to see us all in prison, on the street, or totally rejecting Christ. He wants to ruin our souls. The Bible calls him our enemy and compares him with a roaring lion.

We Christians live continuously in the same world as the devil. We are no match for his strength, but there’s a wall between us and him. That wall is Jesus Christ, who died to pay for our safety, and who has sent His Holy Spirit to live in us and keep us from the power of the devil.

Yet, so many Christians seem to hang out along the edges of their wall. They desire the things they could do and have if they were on the other side. They go places filled with temptation. They do things that naturally stir up unholy passions. They neglect Bible study, prayer, and church attendance. They refuse to let God rule in their lives. It’s like they really prefer to live closely to their satanic enemy. The question is obvious, but we all need to ask it--why?

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