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Faith Matters: Do you see temptation coming? Duck! Run! Pray!

Just a few minutes ago, I was checking my emails. There were only a few there, but as I scanned the list, one caught my attention.

Just a few minutes ago, I was checking my emails. There were only a few there, but as I scanned the list, one caught my attention.

It read: “StumbleUpon: Come Back and Stumble!”

It had to do with a search toolbar on my computer that is suppose to help me find things I am looking for. But it was those words, “Come Back and Stumble!” that caught my eye.

Why? Because those words describe what we hear when we are faced with a temptation in our lives. The longer we look and think about the thing that tempts us, the louder it seems we hear its invitation, “Come back and stumble! Try me and take a step backward!”

Isn’t that what temptation often invites us to do? We finally think we’re making progress in some area when we are suddenly sideswiped by some temptation. I don’t know about you, but I find this frustrating!

What I find helpful in this whole matter of temptation is to realize that even Jesus faced temptation in His earthly life. Hebrews 4:15 says, “He was tempted in every way that we are, but He did not sin.”

If Jesus was tempted in every way we are, then He knows what you and I face when temptation knocks at our door. Lust wooed Him. Greed lured Him. Power called Him. Jesus - the human - was tempted. But Jesus - the Holy God - resisted.

Now, you may read this and say, “Oh great! Of course He resisted temptation, He’s God! I’m not. So now what?”

The thing is, because Jesus resisted temptation, it means that with His help, we can also resist temptation that comes our way.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has, But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, He will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it.”

In other words, when you sense a temptation coming your way, don’t think about it and then open the door and let it into your mind. Run to God and say, “A temptation is coming my way that is tough for me to resist. Please show me a way to avoid it.”

If you sincerely ask God, He will show you an escape route out of that temptation. It may be turning your TV or computer off. Maybe it’s calling a friend for support. Whatever it is, the escape plan is ready for you to take.

When Jesus walked this earth and was faced with a temptation, He knew it was important to ask God for help. One day, He said to some followers in Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus’ word of advice to you and me is that when temptation knocks at our door, we should watch for it; keep our eyes open. When you see temptation to sin coming, duck! When you sense temptation is heading your way, go the other way! And then, Jesus says, pray. What prayer does is that it invites God to walk the shadowy pathways of life with us, guarding our back from the poison darts of Satan. When you face temptation, don’t stumble back into it. Instead watch for it, avoid it and pray, ask for God’s help.

When you face the temptation to cheat, to lie, to take revenge or whatever it is, you need to remember that the temptation doesn’t come from God, but rather Satan who is out to destroy you. Remember that God is like a Father who wants to warn us of trouble spots that may cause temptation hazards. That’s why it’s important to have a personal relationship with God. You cannot only ask Him to provide what you need but also to protect you from things like temptation.

Perhaps you are familiar with what’s called The Lord’s Prayer.

Part of this prayer says, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver is from the evil one.”

This is not saying God leads us into tempting situations, but it is asking God to lead us away from such situations, to help us watch out for them.

Imagine a father and son are walking down an icy street. The father cautions his son to be careful, but the boy is too excited to slow down.

He steps on the first piece of ice. Up go the feet and down he goes. Dad comes along and helps the boy to his feet. The boy apologizes for not listening to his father’s warning and then holds tightly to his father’s big hands.

He asks, “Keep me from the slippery spots. Don’t let me fall again.”

In the same way, if we ask, God can help us to not fall again when temptation comes our way. We need to make the choice to listen to His advice, His way of escape.

Temptation may still come your way today. Don’t see your only choice being to stumble again. Instead, ask God to show you a way to escape the temptation that is knocking at your door.

This faith column was provided by Tri-Community Baptist Church in Beiseker

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