In my little world, "nuke" is just a word to describe what happens to my leftover when I put them into the microwave. But when I was doing a week of outreach on an Air Force base, nuke meant something far more lethal - as in nuclear missile. This particular base was home to scores of the missiles that have been part of the front lines of our nation's defense for years. They're kept in underground silos, surrounded by very high-tech security systems. It was my privilege to be taken on a visit of one of the launch control centers there, each one of these command centers is responsible for ten missiles. At the time I was there, the center was manned by two airmen who were on 24-hour shifts called "alerts." When they were on "alert," they went underground into a fully self-sustaining unit that contains both the launch systems and the systems that protect those missiles from intruders. They showed me the systems which monitor virtually every movement every minute for their ten missiles sites. In fact these protection systems are so finely tuned that a plastic bag blowing across the prairie can trigger it, or some rabbit who has no idea what is under his little feet. Frankly, I was encouraged that we have crews like this that are on full alert - what they're responsible for needs full alert!
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Full Alert."
Reading recently the Bible's account of the first human being ever, Cain, well the first one ever born that is. Adam and Eve were directly created by God - but Cain was literally the first person totally like us ever! And what happened in the life of this firstborn human has so much to teach all of us who have been born since Cain. Like this, for example.
Our word for today from the word of God, comes from Genesis 4:7 - "If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you; you must master it." History shows that Cain did not listen and neither have we. He did not go on full alert against the sin of his own anger and bitterness, he didn't master it, so it proceeded to master him. And the firstborn of humankind became the first murderer of the human race, killing his own brother. It's a sad and tragic story.
It always is when we do not heed God's warning to master the sin that is crouching at the door and waiting to have us. The U.S. defense system was developed in light of a clear threat to our security. When we recognized the threat, we developed a system of being on full alert, 24 hours a day, against it.
The threat to you and me is this predator called sin. And you probably know all too well which sin or sins are always crouching at your door, always trying to take over, whether it's anger or lust or worry or selfishness or pride, or some habit or persistent temptation. The call of God is to go on full alert against that sin, stopping its intrusion while it's small, before it is a full-scale sin invasion of your heart and mind.
Notice what God didn't say to our great-great-grandfather Cain. He didn't say, "You must coexist with your sin or even you must fight your sin, you must tolerate, you must excuse." No, you must master your sin and get control of what is trying to get control of you. Now here's the question, have you been too passive in your struggle against the sin that's always around your door, or have you mastered it. God is calling us to master it - how? By daily surrender of that area to Jesus, by setting your alarms to go off at the first tiny invasion of that sin, stop it right then and by eliminating the influences that strengthen its pull. Live on the promise of Romans 6:14, "Sin shall not be your master." Put the name of your sin in that promise and claim it as your future!
I saw in a missile command center what to do when you're facing a formidable enemy - go on full alert against it. The Cold War may be over - the sin war is not. It's time to beat what has been beating you too long, isn't it, by living on full alert against it.