Shingles. We all know what they are, right? They're those pieces of asphalt that are nailed to our roofs to keep the moisture out and protect the house. Shingles are good. They are our friends in that they provide a covering for us. I used to work with a roofer/sider and got a very up close and personal look at shingles. There were many days when my main job was to make sure that my boss did not run out of the shingles he needed to finish roofing the house on which we were working. That meant trips up and down the ladder sometimes for me carrying him his precious cargo. Shingles. Ya gotta appreciate them.

Shingles. Yeah, I know, I'm repeating myself. But, then again I'm not. True, I started the paragraph with the same word I used to start the first paragraph. However, these shingles are different. Remember the chicken pox of your youth? Those of you who had chicken pox in your childhood years be prepared for some shocking news. You are a prime candidate to get a neurological condition known as "shingles" due to having had chicken pox. I had chicken pox as a child and, just recently, I learned firsthand about shingles. Since mid October I have not had a day without either their symptoms or their aftermath.

My first case hit my right shoulder. There was pain and then a rash and blisters. Shingles is a virus. Basically you take medication to defeat the symptoms for a while as the virus runs its course. Once the virus is done you then come to grips with postherpetic neuralgia. You might well call that aftermath pain. Since the onset of my second case, which hit my left shoulder, the virus has run its course and I am now faced with the pain. It's like a burning sensitivity. It is almost impossible to relax and sit still. Sleep becomes a dream or a memory. There are those odd times when I get settled and actually feel almost comfortable. But it soon passes and the pain returns. It's kind of odd. Shingles are a lot like sin in a person's life.

Think back to that time in your childhood when you first sinned. Can't remember? Try remembering your first whipping. Ah, now you've made the connection. That first whipping taught you that there are things that you just don't do. Maybe it was your first attempt at lying. Maybe you struck someone in anger. Maybe you used language you had heard but didn't know exactly what it meant. Point is, you learned a new technique in life. You learned sin. You learned that sin that hit you all at once was hard to get out of the consequences. So you learned to plan your sins carefully. Then you learned about a better way. You learned about Jesus. While your guilt for sin had been removed by His blood, your knowledge of sin was still there.

"Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts." Romans 6:12 The virus is still there. But, you have a choice. I now know that there is a vaccine one can recieve to prevent shingles. I found that out afterwards. There is something that be done about the recurrence of sin. We can "present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness." Romans 6:13 In short, we can live up to the name, "Christian," and be the Christ-like influence in this world God intends us to be. So, it is our choice. We can either live with the constant pain of Knowing that we are hurting God with our sin, or we can live in the center of His love as His children. Be well.