A heavy storm hit a man’s home. As he stood looking out the front window, a great gust of wind toppled a tall, stately tree in the front yard.

Later, when he examined the broken trunk, he saw that the wind was not the only reason for the fall. The tree had been weakened inside by disease. He remembered then that as a boy he had used a hatchet to chip away some of the bark when it was only a slender sapling. Over the years, water seeped in through the gashes and disease found an opening. Slowly, the trunk had begun to decay from within. Although the sapling grew into what appeared to be a strong tree, it could not withstand the force of the wind. Because of a hidden fault, the tree came crashing to the ground.

And so it is with our lives. Perhaps there is a hidden area that you are especially susceptible to temptation. For men, this could be an attraction to pornography. For teens, it could be movies that promote terrible language and sex. For women, it could be a tendency to gossip about others. Whatever your temptation is, you need to guard that part of your life with special diligence. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Let us all endeavor not to let a hidden fault rot out the root of our testimony.

As long as we meddle with any kind of sin, we shall never clearly see the blessed face of our Lord. – Julian of Norwich

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder