Have you seen the latest Harry Potter movie? I saw it with my wife last night. Without giving too much away, there is a scene in the movie where Harry gets the Elder Wand. In case you don't know, the Elder Wand is one of three powerful magical items called the Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand is the most powerful wand in the world and with it a wizard would be unstoppable. And it falls into Harry's hands!
What does Harry do with it?
You might have just glanced past that part of the movie, but hold on a second! With that wand, Harry could have spanked you know who's butt along with any other evil wizard who ever so much as tried to do anything foul! With the Elder Wand, Harry could have rigged up Hogwarts with some nice defenses and made that school impenetrable! With the Elder Wand, Harry could have done anything he wanted.
My wife and I were talking after the movie. She asked why I thought Harry destroyed the wand. After all, there was a lot of good he could have done with it. Not only that, but Dumbledore used the wand for good for many years. The only thing we could come up with was that Harry still doubted himself a bit. What if he was more like you know who than Dumbledore? What if he slipped and the power went to his head? He didn't want that temptation or that possibility to be anywhere near him. So, he sacrificed the Elder Wand to be sure that temptation never became a reality. It reminds me of a Proverb.
Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without being burned? Proverbs 6:27-28
The obvious answer is NO! Imagine someone grabbing a burning log and putting it on his lap. When his pants and legs start to burn, should he be surprised? So what's that got to do with anything? Is the Bible saying not to play with fire or else we'll get burned? Fire here is symbolic for sin and temptation. The Bible is saying don't play with and flirt with sin or you'll get burned.
If you're like me, usually you ask the question "How far can I go before its actually sin?" What can I do with my boyfriend or girlfriend before God gets mad? I can watch the show with dirty and inappropriate jokes as long as I don't repeat them right? Can I hang out with those wild friends as long as I don't actually join in with what they are doing? Just tell me where the line between right and wrong is so that I can stand as close to that line as possible and maybe occasionally reach my hand over.
I think we have something to learn from Harry. Could Harry have used the Elder Wand for good? Possibly. But he knew there would be temptation to use it for evil. Rather than trust himself and walk as close to the line between right and wrong as possible, he chose to run from the line as far into good territory as he could.
You and I need to be the kind of people who ask the question, "How can I keep myself far from sin and temptation?" You and I need to find the line between right and wrong and stay far clear of it. Like fire, we need to respect that line and not dance around it. Because when we dance around it, sooner or later we will get burned. We need to humble ourselves and admit that we can't fight temptation and sin day in and day out and always come up as the winner. We need to humble ourselves and stay as far from temptation as possible.
Like Harry, sometimes doing that will take sacrifices. For him, he had to sacrifice all of the possibilities offered by the wand. You may need to sacrifice as well.
If you are tempted to go too far with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you may need to sacrifice some of your freedom by making sure you are always chaperoned. CHAPERONED!? You can't be serious!? Well, do you want to dance the line or stay far from it? My wife and I made sure we were in public and/or chaperoned when we were dating and I was 20 at the time!
If you are tempted by peer pressure, you may need to give those friends up. But I don't want to be all alone! Pray that God would help you find better friends.
If you are tempted to misuse the internet, you may need to move your computer out of your room. You don't need it in there and the living room will keep you more accountable.
So, what sins and temptations do you flirt with? What is it that you just simply try to get as close to as you can?
What steps can you take to guard yourself from those temptations? How can you take steps away from the fire and stay at a safe distance?
What sacrifices do you need to make to keep yourself from playing with fire?
Be like Harry. Don't leave any room for temptation. Don't keep dancing around the temptation and act surprised when you mess up and sin. Break the Elder Wand in half and never look back.