Thursday, May 23, 2013

Giving Temptation a Wide Berth

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  –James 4:7 (JKV)

I apologize for not providing more devotionals this past week, but this has been an extremely hectic time.  The good news is my schedule should slow down considerably for the next couple of months, which will allow me more time to write.  Thanks as always for your patience and support.

Last week I was catching up on some badly need yard work when I received quite a start.  I was using my push mower to cut around a few corners of the yard when I looked down to see a small snake slithering right between my shoes.  No one heard me because of the noise of the mower, but I actually yelled, “Whoa!”  and jumped backward.  The snake, a garden-variety garter snake, was about a foot and half long.  He was probably just trying to get away from the dangerous machine I was pushing through his territory.  I stopped mowing and allowed the little fellow time to get to safety before I continued cutting the grass. 

I have seen many snakes around our yard, which borders a stretch of thick woods, and to date I have never killed one of them.  I figure they all have their purpose, and as long as they stay out of the house we will get along just fine.  Black snakes will kill mice and other rodents, and many folks around here say they will also keep copperheads away.  This latter benefit seems ample reason to give them a wide berth. 

I think this sums up my feelings about snakes; I am not terrified of them, yet I do give them plenty of room.  I am aware of their dangers, so if I see one I leave it alone.  The Word of God reminds us that if we resist the devil he has no choice but to flee from us.  We do well to avoid compromising situations that could lead us into sin.  Should we see a temptation coming our way, we do not need to move in for a closer look.  Instead, we are better off to keep walking forward while trusting the Lord to give us power to resist.  No one knows how many marriages have been ruined, relationships shattered, and reputations tarnished because someone decided to stop for a closer look at temptation.  Like the large blacksnake that used to live under our carport, I try to give temptation a wide berth.  Moving in for a closer look is bound to create trouble. 

Take note of the first part of James 4:7 about submitting to God.  This is akin to what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 about denying self, taking up the cross, and following Him.  Submission to God’s will is where we find spiritual freedom.  We are unshackled from the chains of sin, hatred, grudges, bitterness, anger, and fear.  These dark forces will only hold us back.  What Christ offers is the abundant life complete with the daily power source of the Holy Spirit.  Such blessed spiritual freedom comes when we realize we are better off seeking the Lord’s help.

Stand firm, stand strong – not in your strength, but in Christ’s strength.  He gives power to resist anything which might otherwise bring us down and rob us of the joy meant to be ours.  Walk forward, walk straight, and walk humbly before God (Micah 6:8).  The Lord is with us.

God bless you today.