The following is a list of STRICT UNBENDING RULES for dealing with stray cats:
1. Stray cats will not be fed.
2. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food.
3. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with a little milk.
4. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with warm milk, yummy treats and leftover fish scraps.
5. Stray cats will not be encouraged to make this house their permanent residence.
6. Stray cats will not be petted, played with or picked up and cuddled unnecessarily.
7. Stray cats that are petted, played with, picked up and cuddled will absolutely not be given a name.
8. Stray cats with or without a name will not be allowed inside the house at any time.
9. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except at certain times.
10. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except on days ending in "y."
11. Stray cats allowed inside will not be permitted to jump up on or sharpen their claws on the furniture.
12. Stray cats will not be permitted to jump up on, or sharpen claws on the really good furniture.
13. Stray cats will be permitted on all furniture but must sharpen their claws on the new $114.99 sisal-rope cat-scratching post with three perches.
It's a humorous progression, but it reminds me of what happens spiritually (which is not at all humorous). We don't want to sin, so we establish boundaries. "I'm not going to go here, look there, think about that." But, before long, we've crossed the line. We think, "That's all right. I still haven't done anything wrong. I'll just re-establish my boundaries and not be quite so strict." And slowly but surely, sin works its way further and further into our lives until we find that we're no longer in control of the situation.
"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)
Father, far too often I have allowed sin to slowly work its way into my life. I didn't want it to. I didn't mean for it to happen. But it did, and I'm sorry. Please help me to keep my eyes focused on you as I strive to keep it from happening again. Give me strength as I resolve not to allow impure thoughts and motives to find a home in my heart. In Jesus' name, amen.