Have you ever had an itch? Maybe it’s right between your shoulder blades and you cannot quite reach it. Or maybe it occurs in the middle of the night. You are sound asleep, and you realize that your knee itches. Now you have to make a decision, wake up and scratch it, or hope that it just goes away. Itching demands attention.
Itching is a sensation on your skin that forces you to scratch it. The medical name for it is “pruritus.” Insect bites and certain allergies can cause a person to itch. Other common causes of itching can be attributed to hormonal changes, or liver and kidney problems. Sometimes topical lotions can help, but persistent itching needs to be addressed by a physician.
While it usually pertains to your skin, the word “itch” can also refer to a strong compulsion to take action. Some call that itch a restless or provoking desire to do something that is often prohibited. You may have heard of the term “seven-year itch.” That is the myth that after seven years you will become disenchanted with your marriage partner and seek someone else to meet your needs. How foolish.
Maybe you heard about the middle-aged adult at work, who suddenly got the itch for an expensive sports car. They went online and found just what they wanted at a dealership across the street. On their lunch break, they walked over to see the car, and fell in love. Before they knew it, they had bought the car and drove it back to the office. The problem was that they now had two cars at the office. Things get so complicated when we bow to an impulsive itch.
It would not be too much of a stretch to say that sin produces an itch that begs you to scratch it, now. It overwhelms you, and demands immediate attention. A powerful sign of a “sin-itch” is its’ oppressive demand for immediate action. It is one thing to crave ice cream or chocolate. But, the craving for that which God forbids can lead us to sin.
The Apostle Paul speaks of “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). These are the ears of Christians who want to be in the presence of things that God abhors. They just have to hear the sounds of false teaching or acts of perversion. Scratching their itch leads to sin.
Temptation can take many forms. But so often, Satan plants an “itch” in our life that is contrary to God’s best for us. Some say, “Lord, if you do not want me to scratch that itch, please remove it from me.” Certainly, God can answer that request. But usually, the itch is a test. Who do you love more? Where are your priorities? Are the things of God more important to you than the many itches that crawl up your skin?
Jesus boiled it all down to this: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Think it over.