May 23, 2023
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God has the most amazing ways of getting our attention. My friend, Brian, had been involved in evangelism for many years. Which of course, means he spends a lot of time on the road. Which, in his case, meant a lot of opportunities to mess up in an area where he has struggled for many years; a weakness for pornography. Now, Brian was determined to get the victory over that slave master, so he took some very bold defensive action. He actually stayed away from places where he might encounter pornography. He asked those who invited him to speak to put him in private homes rather than motels.
But one college he was invited to insisted on lodging him in a motel. So, he's driving through Iowa on his way to this school, and he stops at a gas station in the middle of nowhere for a cold drink. When he walked in the store, there was a whole wall covered with pornographic magazines. After just a moment, the old Brian thought, "Nobody knows I'm a minister here. I could get a couple magazines and take them to my motel room." Right then, someone came running in the store and asked, "Does anyone here have a gray Firebird?" Brian knew that was his car. "It's sitting out in the middle of the highway." Brian raced outside to find his car had somehow, inexplicably, rolled into the highway in the flats of Iowa! Needless to say, he didn't go back inside that store. And he's been winning that battle for a long time now.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Battle Plan for Big Temptation."
Isn't it great to know that God is in the temptation rescue business? I mean, I can't hear Brian's story without thinking of that classic request in the Lord's Prayer, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13). Even if you find your car in the middle of the highway. God knows our sinful tendencies. So, He knows. He knows the areas where we're most prone to mess up again, and He will go to great lengths to deliver you from that evil.
But He expects you to take strong evasive action against your temptation. Our word for today from the word of God comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." Okay, so God knows your limits, He says, "stop!" when it's a sinful opportunity you can't handle. There simply is no such thing as an irresistible temptation. If you can't walk away from it, God won't let it in your life.
Here's how God very practically intervenes so you don't ever have to be that way again. "But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." There's the key to beating the temptation that's beaten you so many times - God's temptation exit, "The way out." The King James Version calls it "the way of escape." You know why I think God intervened so dramatically for my friend Brian when he was teetering on the edge of backsliding? Because Brian had been setting up his life to avoid that temptation in every possible way, and God honors that.
He'll do that for you, too. Your job? Analyze the situations and relationships where you're most vulnerable to your entangling sins. Think about what your evasive action could be when the opportunity to do that sin again comes up. Where's your way of escape? There are people that you can't afford to be with. There are shows you can't afford to watch, there's music you can't afford to listen to, there are websites you can't afford to even get near, there are situations you can't afford to get into - not if you really want to change. Not if you want to be free, and I think you really do.
For every sinful choice, there are other choices you can make, usually pre-make, that will take you out the exit that God's provided. If you'll do your part to seriously battle that sin, believe me, God will do His part to "deliver you from evil." Just ask that guy with his car in the middle of the road!