Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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When I was little, my bicycle and I spent a lot of time together. You would see this little fat guy chugging all over town; that was my way to get around. There was only one thing that compromised my total enjoyment of biking - the dog on the corner. Yeah, since our street ended right after our house and our house was just beyond the corner, there was just no other way to approach our house. So, often that little dog would sense me coming; I'm sure he had lookouts posted. He would appear out of nowhere, charge my direction with teeth bared, his bark would send chills up my spine. I picked up my speed; boy, I got really fast! I could feel him nipping at my heels. I didn't even know I could pedal that fast! I think I could have qualified for the Olympics.
I very quickly learned any evasive action I could think of: getting my speed up before I got there, coming down the other street where he seemed less likely to be. I followed his pattern, ignoring him; pretending I didn't see him so I didn't look scared. Somebody told me that was a good idea. I learned quickly that a vicious dog is nothing to mess with and should be avoided at all costs.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Avoid What Wants to Bite You."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Genesis 39, beginning at verse 7. Joseph is about to be a Jewish transplant; picked up and sold as a slave into Egypt. He's working for Potiphar, a military leader. He's been trusted with total responsibility of the household. Now, Potiphar's wife gets an eye on this good looking young man, and it says, "After a while, his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me.' But he refused."
Verse 10 of Genesis 39 - "And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her." And notice this, "...or even be with her." Now, this has got to be for Joseph a pretty tempting temptation. He's lonely; he's away from home. I would guess that a powerful man's wife is probably pretty attractive, and he is totally trusted. He may very well get away with this and no one even know that he's done it.
But he says, "How could I sin against God." He knows God will know. He knows that he and his conscience will know. And had he said yes to this temptation, it would have been a spiritually fatal mistake - probably disqualifying him from being God's hero as we know him today.
Now, temptation is always out to bite you, to discredit you, to scar you. But unlike our dog at the corner when I was a kid, it doesn't warn you with a bark. Do you know what your Potiphar's wife is right now? Oh, it could be sexual opportunity. It could be the apparent advantages of compromising your integrity a little bit, being a little dishonest right now; maybe it's the urge to retaliate or a compromise that seems better than losing this person, or that old habit, or going back to the old friends. The advantages of sinning are always short lived, and the price always lasts a long time.
Now, notice that Joseph can recognize that vicious dog of temptation under all that mascara and perfume. He's smart enough to take evasive action to not ride close to the dog's house. That may be why the pull of temptation is so strong on you. You haven't burned your bridges to it. You want to beat it? Then you have to avoid the places where it is, the people who draw you into it, the props that get you into it. You can't flirt with sin; it's a vicious dog! Pedal fast! The Bible says, "Flee from it." Take a route that's nowhere near the opportunity to do that sin.
Don't get anywhere near that attractive, but deadly, vicious dog of sin.