For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flee Temptation

Why is it that we toy around with temptation? When something we know to be wrong presents itself, instead of running kicking and screaming in the other direction, we actually take time to look at it, think about it, pretend it doesn’t really tempt us, etc. And then we’re shocked when one day we actually stumble and fall. “Oh, that snuck up on me; I couldn’t help it.” When in all honesty, we’ve been toying with it for some time.

Of course, that’s the way the enemy likes it; that’s the way sin operates. As Brian Hedges writes in License to Kill: Sinful desire tricks the mind into thinking that sinning is no big deal. Through subtle insinuations and crafty arguments, the flesh tries to influence our perception of sin and its dynamics. Its goal is that we would increasingly:
• excuse our own motives for sin
• overestimate the pleasure we expect sin to deliver
• underestimate the pain and consequences we expect sin to produce

Hedges speaks of our tendency to rationalize. He says: “It’s just a little sin.” “No one is perfect.” “God will forgive me.” “I won’t go too far.” “I’ll give this up soon.” This is the language of sin in a deceived and enticed heart. If you are willing to be tempted by sin, to fondly consider its proposals, to carry on a peaceful courtship with the flesh, you have already become unfaithful in your heart to Christ, your Bridegroom.

Why do we do this? Why do we even allow the “game” to begin with? I think it really is because we’ve convinced ourselves it’s no big deal. We laugh it off. We make a cartoon out of it.

How many times have you seen some cute little cartoon with the person facing some decision, while and angel perches on one shoulder and a little devil on the other.
Isn’t it cute? I mean, it’s Donald Duck, after all. The little devil tries to get us to do one thing, while the little angel tries to get us to do something else. Sadly, this little image has become too common, and we fail to see the real problem here. Why are you letting that devil on your shoulder to begin with? This is what it should look like:
In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian has a conversation with Faithful in which the two men are discussing the various trials they’ve face. Faithful describes his confrontation with Wanton and her temptations. Basically, Faithful says he just shut his eyes and ran away.

Charles Spurgeon, in his Pictures from Pilgrim’s Progress, writes of that episode: “It is a blessing if, by God’s grace, we use Joseph’s way of conquering it, namely, by running away from it, for there is no other. Fly, for this foe is not to be parleyed with. While you tarry, you are taken prisoner. While you look, the fruit is plucked. While you think how to resist the attack of the serpent, you are caught in its folds. He that hesitates is lost. “Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain,” is the only direction to every man who would come out of Sodom. There is no way to escape from this sin save by flight."

This same response would be good for all of us in any temptation. Flee temptation! Don’t play with it. Don’t talk to it. Don’t act like it’s anything less than it is, a tool of the enemy to bring you down. Don’t, as Hedges says, carry on a peaceful courtship with the flesh. Run from it kicking and screaming Get it off, get it off!!! Let’s pray for one another that we would do just that.

No comments: