The three under-eight children gathered around the table for an emergency strategy conference as if faced with a code red: costumes for the school carnival! Two brothers and a neighbor girl sketched out details. Soon, with scissors in hand, the three headed off for the scrap box and closets.

An hour later, the three returned, one in costume. “Mom, I am a prince this year,” one boy announced, patting the dark beret decorated with a fluffy ostrich plume. Wrapped in a black cape, he sported a new royal blue breastplate cut from a scrap of brocade pinned to his tee shirt.

“I can see that. But you need to take off your costume for lunch.”

“It’s okay,” the boy assured his mom. “I’ll only get my mouth dirty.”

His figuring he would only get his mouth dirty in all the feathers, fancy cloth, and cape, is like us figuring a little sin won’t hurt.

Sin is an old-fashioned word today. Some Christians would rather call it “immaturity,” “bad choices,” “bad company,”  “mental illness,” or “sowing wild oats.” Tombstones of several young adults I taught as children explained they had “lived hard and free.” But not happily–nor long.

Proverbs 4:4-6 contains timeless words of advice: “Lay hold of my words with all your hearts; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”

It is not enough for the mouth to say, “Jesus is Lord.” The body must also.