Thursday, July 27, 2023

Avoiding Temptation

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Avoiding Temptation

I recently saw a poster with Charlie Brown saying Most things in life are easier to get into than to get out of.  It really impacted me as I thought about it. This statement is so true, especially with bad situations, relationships that are wrong, jobs, or any number of examples of things we find ourselves locked into with no easy way out.  For example it is so much easier to gain weight than to lose it.  It is way more satisfying in the moment to eat chips, ice cream, and cookies than it is to exercise and eat healthy foods and the pounds certainly go on a lot easier than they come off. 

Let’s face it, most things that are bad for us are pleasurable in the moment - drugs, sex outside of marriage, yummy food, etc.  We all know people, or at least know of people, who are living lives full of sinful behavior yet it seems they have no problems and their life is perfect. There is an old movie quote that is very compelling and goes right along with the trap of sin that we can find ourselves in. It goes something like this: “Satan allows us to live in sin problem free. He allows us to go along and doesn’t bother us because he knows that we may turn to God when things get hard and the consequences of our sin start to break down our lives. He does not want us to turn to God or need Him."  But living in sin, even problem free, is like living in a jail cell.  God leaves the door wide open so we can choose to leave, get out at any time, but we don’t. We wait and then the door slams shut and then it is too late.  We are locked in the jail cell of sin.”  At that point, it is really hard to get out, but it is possible.  

Like the scripture above says, Satan is watching and waiting to catch us with our guard down.  We may even find ourselves in situations we never thought we would be a part of.  People get involved with drugs and the wrong people associated with drugs.  They may at some point decide they are going to quit and get their life together, but addictions are much easier to get into than to break the habit.  It is easy to have a drink or take the drugs your friends are offering, thinking you are rock solid and can partake once or twice and be ok.  But that is often not the case.  Satan may get his foot in the door with that one time and he begins to chip away at your life.  The addiction consumes you, the “friends” control your life and when you try to get away it can even be dangerous.  

The same goes for many other situations. It is easy to succumb to temptation in the moment and have to pay consequences for a long time. Sometimes you are not the only one affected by the situation.  Other people get hurt in the crossfire. God knew how easy it would be for us to fall to temptation and that is why He gave us these words. He wants us to be alert and of sober mind always, using extreme caution and discernment before getting involved in something we shouldn’t’ be a part of.  Think before you act because Satan is cunning and clever.  He can trick us.  He knows our weakness and he wants us to fail.  Before you blink you can be right where he wants you.  

There are many things we can do as Christians to protect ourselves.

·         Read the bible and pray – of course the number one defense is to have a relationship with God.  Praying and reading your bible to help you grow and to bathe your life in God’s word will certainly be helpful when you are going down a path you don’t need to be on.  

·         Associate with the right people – Go to church, worship and fellowship with other Christians.  We need this connection in our lives.  Surround yourself and spend time with people who help you do good things, not people who entice you to do anything that goes against God’s word.  There may be other Christians who cause you to stumble, pressure you into some form of sin.  They can twist God’s truth and the reality about the sin to try to make you feel like it is not wrong.  But just think of what the Bible says.  It is pretty black and white.  God’s word is always true and needs to be our ultimate resource in life.  
Note – yes, we are to love people who are sinners and try to reach them but that does not mean that we have to hang out with them and take part in what they are involved in. 
     Guard your heart – In Proverbs it tells us to guard our heart, for everything flows from it.  We have to be vigilant.  Satan knows that he has already been defeated at the cross and that his time is running out.  He is desperate.  He has tried and true strategies for luring us into temptation and he wants to do everything he can to turn us away from Christ and the truth that He is the only way, truth, and life.  

Satan does have his schemes to trick us but he cannot make us do anything.  He is clever but not all powerful.  Only God is all powerful.  He owns the power over Satan, sin, life and death.  We have to be alert and sober of mind, careful.  He is prowling and he does rejoice in every believer he can trick.  

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