This post is coming straight from the fingers of one gal who has just embarked on the last lag of this triathlon. Elementary, a slow and painful start, is over. Junior High whizzed by easily. And now. Now, 'tis the Beginning of the End. . . . . . . . . . High School.
With High School comes a lot new things. New ideas, new ways of thinking, new responsibilities . . . and new temptations. It's scary stuff.
When we hear about temptation, we automatically recoil. Just the word, 'temptation,' we associate with evil. Sin. Darkness. Traps. Maybe we recall those incidents when we were tempted and gave in. Maybe we elevate ourselves to the point where we think we are above temptation, and that the lusts and sinful desires of this world no longer have any effect on us.
No one can honestly say that they are without sin. To say so would be a lie, and a lie is a sin. But really, every time we sin, it is because we were tempted to sin. Temptation is often perceived as a long gruelling argument with yourself. "Oh, but I want to!" "Oh, but I shouldn't..." "Oh but it wouldn't hurt!" "But... it isn't right..." Uh-uh. Usually, the more time we have to think about it, the more likely we are to avoid the temptation. Not always, but usually.
Often, when we are tempted to sin, it's a split-second decision. We are such sinful people that now, it sometimes passes by unnoticed. The temptation that was once a long, one-on-one conviction conversation with your conscience has become second nature. Well actually, it is our first nature. We, humans, are born with a sinful nature.
1 Corinthians 11:13 ~
The temptations in your life are no different than what others
experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more
than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way
out so that you can endure.
Wow. That makes me feel silly. There is always a way out of temptation. I sicken myself. Sometimes, I'll be tempted to say something or do something that I know is wrong, but I want so badly to do it that I just convince myself it's okay just this once. I rationalize the situation and pretend that it's all right. I kind of try to persuade myself into thinking it's the only option, anyways. Well, that book that I claim to base my life on declares otherwise. There is ALWAYS a way out. We are never forced to sin. Ever.
Imagine you're biking. Perhaps on a dirt/gravel path. You have to keep your eyes on the road to make sure you don't spin and fall. I'm sure it's happened to you- it's happened to me a number of times before. Rock at twelve o'clock. It's dead ahead. A large obstacle- maybe a big round stone. Too big to go over comfortably and safely on your sidewalk-loving bicycle. It's not too wide, easily avoidable. All you have to do is turn the handlebars and manoeuvre around it. But you just can't take your eyes off that huge stone. You really think you're turning. You think you'll miss it, but your hands discretely steer directly to where you're staring, which is the stone. And then, it is upon you so fast that there's no time to think. Either you jolt over it painfully or slip to the side and skin your knee as you fall. Either way, you know full well it could've been avoided, had you averted your gaze to the clear path. Do you see what I'm getting at, here?
In the moment, sin seems alluring. Attractive. Fun. They don't call it temptation for nothing. It's called temptation because it looks good to the eye. Sin doesn't at first look unfriendly and dangerous, it looks pleasant. That's why we fall for it. Does anybody really wake up and search for all the sin they can? Of course not. Most people just do what's right in their own eyes, which, though ignorant to the fact- it is sin.
Proverbs 21:2 ~
Every man's way is right in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the hearts.
God always gives a way out of sin, but it is the simple task of turning our gaze from the deception, and focusing on the Deliverer. Same scenario as above. I don't know if you've tested it before, but it does work! It's the strangest thing. Our hands automatically turn the handlebars to where our eyes are looking. If you look straight at the stone you are trying to avoid, you will run into it, or come terrifyingly close. But, if you avert your gaze a couple inches to the right or left, a clear passageway, you breeze through, unscathed!
So, what are we looking at that is causing us to stumble? What are we listening to that is causing sinful thoughts? Who are we following, being led to the darkness. I know it doesn't look wrong. Even if, in our hearts know that it's wrong, our mind tells us, "Hold on a second. That actually looks good to try." Therefore, our mind's eye is set upon the temptation. The longer we look at it, the more appealing it may become. Satan is the Father of Lies, and he's good at deceiving. But he doesn't always catch the prey. He can never totally trap anybody into sinning. His attempts at ensnaring us with cages of temptation always have a gaping hole, put there by God. If we could only take our eyes away from that which will harm us, and look toward Him who will deliver us, we are freed!
Like I said earlier, however, there are some sins that we have become immune towards. Those certain sins are different for every person. They are now a habit, and the temptation is still there, it is still avoidable, but every time we give in, our danger-detection mechanism gets duller. (Basically, we become deafer and deafer to what the Holy Spirit is nudging us to do or not do.) Catch yourself. Make it right. If you don't even notice the huge stone in front of your bike, how are you going to come through unhurt?
Time to open our eyes again and look around. God is waiting there, ready to catch us, but we can't fall into His arms if we don't see Him. Tear your eyes and ears and mouth away from the upcoming danger and discover the perfect, clear pathway right there for you: Jesus!
I want to begin to restore my innocence this year. It's so hard. For me, my problem is... I want to know things. I crave knowledge. Sometimes that's good, but in this world, that can be bad. I'm curious as to what people are talking about. And the thing is, once I find out, I regret it. I was better off not knowing. This world is so vile and evil and filled with sinful things, why do we need to know? Ignorance is bliss. Though some mistake it for stupidity, it's not. It's a better way of living, I would think.
Whatever stone is becoming more and more invisible to you, quickly wake up before you stumble over it yet again! Paint it with bright neon colours if you have to, and rip your eyes away from it. It's the only way to avoid it. As Christians, we should hate sin. God hates sin. He can't have it in His presence. We say that we love Him and want to be like Him. Yes, the forbidden is exceptionally desirable sometimes. But what do you treasure more? The way of the world, or the way of God?
And yet, we are excusing and frolicking in the very thing that He kicked out of heaven for eternity.