In the warm spring and summer months I enjoy the tranquility of fishing.  I frequent a small creek in our area as much as I can.  Those days tend to yield more moments of deep thought and reflection than they do fish.  For me, it is very therapeutic.  I usually catch northern pike, but I often see bass jumping along the shore line.  It is so exciting to see those guys explode out of the water to grab a frog or a mouse.  However, the creek is highly populated by large carpe.  These guys are aquatic disappointments.  Picture it: there I am in the cool hours of the morning, the world is quiet and the sun is slowly peeking over the horizon.  The surface of the water is smooth as glass and I am deep in thought.  All of a sudden I feel a slight jerk on my fishing pole and at a distance I can see the outline of a large fish playing with my bait.  The adrenaline kicks, my blood starts pumping, and my heart is racing in anticipation.  But as the fish turns slightly I can make out that it is only a carpe.  Oh…the let down. 

If you know anything about carpe, you know that they are not the fish you want playing with your bait.  Essentially, carpe are bottom feeders, that is they eat all the garbage on the bottom of the water.  You know, decaying fish, a twinkie the last fisherman dropped in the water, trash…anything that sinks and doesn’t float…crap.  And the old saying is true, “You are what you eat.”  And boy do they taste like it.  Now, I don’t mean to insult those who like to eat them.  To each their own…but…yuck!

I am not just interested in telling you how gross carpe are or how much of a let down they can be.  I intend on using them as a metaphor.  You see, although carpe may be the fish that I see the most of on a trip, like all fish they are skittish.  Now they may have a higher danger tolerance than most fish but they do have a breaking point.  And so if you don’t actually see them feeding you will definitely see them scatter.  When carpe scatter they are not silent about it.  Their obnoxious action of fleeing is a sort of defence mechanism.  They turn and bolt with a sudden and violent jerk.  The jerking causes a loud splash at times or a burst of ripples in and on the water.  As they do this they stir up a wall of mud and soot at the bottom of the water and the seer can no longer see in front of them.  The predator or observer’s once crystal clear vision is suddenly and violently blurred.  The predator becomes confused and often gives up on its goal. 

This is where I will play upon the metaphor.  For many years I have felt God’s calling on my life as many of you may have.  But there was something wrong.  As much as I wanted to accomplish the goals God had for me, it always seemed a bit out of reach.  So what was the problem?  SIN.  Sin was the problem.  I would see others achieve and reach their goals and God’s vision and I couldn’t quite understand why them and not me.  Yet all the time I knew that I had sin in my life that I hadn’t dealt with. 

You see I knew what to do, I even could see the goal ahead of me.  But as I would begin to pursue it something would happen.  Like that carpe fleeing and kicking up a cloud of filth, this is what sin was doing in my life…or rather, I was allowing sin to do.  Sin is very dangerous and deceiving.  It convinces you that you can have it both ways.  It manipulates you into thinking you can follow God AND play with the devil’s fire.  But the truth is…YOU CAN’T!  God won’t allow it. 

I learned over time two things.  First, having sin in my life kicks up a lot of dirt and confuses me.  I can’t see clearly, think clearly, feel clearly, love clearly, be me clearly, worship God clearly or do anything clearly.  Everything becomes blurred.  Secondly I learned that it is not just sin that kicks up the dirt but God.  Let me explain.  It is the grace of God that our vision becomes blurred and can’t perceive clearly what he wants us to do next.  Why?  Well let me answer that with a question.  What would happen if the Lord let us move ahead with our sin at our side into his plans?  I think you get.  Bad things would happen.  We would not only hurt ourselves but we would hurt a numerous amount of people too. 

Sin is evil.  It is horrible and will rob you of your life if you let it.  If we want God to move and act in our lives and bring about his vision for us, we must divorce ourselves completely from our sin.  Determine that you are done with it, repent and ask God for forgiveness, and yield yourself to his transforming power to change you by his Spirit.  Now this will be a process but it is a process you must allow his Spirit to work in you.  As you do you will see things will become clearer and God will be able to work freely in your life.  God bless you brothers and sisters.  I will be praying for you all and I ask for your prayers.  We all need prayer because none of us are perfect.