For several years, it was nearly unhittable. He threw it between 94-97 miles per hour. It bore in on left-handers and moved away from right-handers. Appearing to be a fastball out of his hand, it was altogether something different by the time it broke the bats of numerous major league hitters.

Mariano Rivera’s cutter was not what it appeared at first to be.

It was tricky. It was deceptive. It was not a straight fastball. It was a cutter, a sinister pitch thrown by a shrewd reliever, designed to break the bat and hearts of the opposing team. And that it did for many years.

There’s a life parallel in Proverbs 9:13–“The woman of folly is boisterous, she is naïve, and knows nothing.”

Think of it this way. You’re standing in the batter’s box. You pick up the pitcher’s release point and see his fingers on top of the ball, so you read fastball. But then it moves. You catch it off the end of the bat, shattering it, grounding out to short.

Sin is just like that. At first, this “woman” named Folly seems to be innocent and predictable, just like a four-seam fastball. Then it moves. It does something you aren’t expecting. In the process, it shatters parts of your life, one piece at a time. You find out in the long run that Folly wasn’t a straight shooter. Instead, it was loud, undisciplined, and stupid.

What’s the solution? Learn sin’s pattern. It will always come dressed as something great, something enjoyable, something innocent. Know the Scripture, ask God for discernment, for eyes to see foolishness for what it is. His will is for you to avoid sin, so you can be sure he will train your mind and heart to recognize it. Then you can adjust and lay off the cutter designed to break your heart and destroy your life.

Lord Jesus, help me to see sin when it’s on its way, and then to avoid it. Give me wisdom and discernment, based on a love for your word. Amen.