“The snow danced in August,” he said. Former steelworker Joe Gutierrez recalls the summer snowstorms in his tell-all book, “The Heat: Steelworkers’ Lives and Legends,” which documents the pains and pleasures of working in a steel mill. According to Gutierrez, silvery dust flakes floated gracefully to the ground, forming a beguiling blanket of snow. The pretty particles fell from a section of the plant where steel bars rolled over pads in a cooling tower. And the enchanting scene lured both workers and visitors to the mill to witness the mysterious phenomenon.
The delightful dust turned out to be asbestos, a fibrous mineral that causes cancer and pulmonary disease. It was dazzling to the eyes, but deathly to the lungs. “Everybody breathed it,” wrote Gutierrez, who suffered from the slow stranglehold of asbestosis. “Can’t walk too far now. I get tired real fast and it hurts when I breathe, sometimes. And to think we used to fight over that job.” Sometimes, things that are fascinating and gorgeous may be fatal and grim.
The Book that God inspired, the Bible, says the same thing about sin. Wickedness disguises itself as harmless as fluttering snowflakes, but it is the mother of death for all who dance in its drizzle (James 1:14-15). Iniquity pretends to be a friend, but it is an enemy that wages war against our soul (1 Peter 2:11). Sin masquerades as a scrumptious fruit that will satisfy our taste, but it is the rotten root attached to the bitter tree of wormwood (Proverbs 5:4). Evil is attractive to the hungry eyes of our flesh, but it is always dangerous to the spiritual health of our heart.
Therefore, we must continually look outward, inward, and upward to avoid looking onward at the false beauty of sin. We must look outward and diligently watch out for spiritual danger (Matthew 26:41). We must glance inward, and pray that God would continually cleanse our wicked heart (Psalm 51:10; Jeremiah 17:9). And we must gaze upward, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).