Talent and youthful strength are often wasted on those who are too immature to know what to do with them. I’ve heard it said that many Major League hitters finally learn how to hit late in their careers, only to find that they cannot physically match their wisdom. Equally sad is the common theme of young players wasting their talent and strength by chasing after things that produce nothing for them.

Here’s the way Proverbs 5:3-5 put it: “Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol” (HCSB).

Some believe this proverb describes a specific woman bent on seducing a man into forbidden pleasures. Others tend to think that the woman represents foolishness in general that trips up those who are unsuspecting and undisciplined. Perhaps a specific woman seducing a man is just one example of how foolishness prevents those with great potential from realizing it.

Regardless of your interpretation, the overall truth stands. We usually don’t foresee what our sin will cost us. We see it only as “honey” or “oil,” things to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, sin is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, “bitter” in the end, cutting us like a “double-edged sword.” In the end, sin always leads to destruction and death. Every time.

So what do we do? First, we repent and turn to the only One who can forgive us–Jesus. Then, we live daily in the realization that Jesus alone can enable us to be wise and avoid the foolishness and destructiveness of ongoing sin. We also ask His Holy Spirit to fill us so that we can take advantage of the skills, strength, and talent He has given us. Whether you apply this to baseball or life, or both, apply it! Sin and foolishness, even if seen just in being lazy at practice, always looks good, but destroys you in the end.

Here’s a prayer:

Jesus, I confess my foolishness and sin to you. I realize that you alone can forgive me and make me a new person. Please fill me and enable me to live with awareness of what is wise and what is foolish, what is beneficial and what will bring destruction on me. Amen.