Monday, September 20, 2010
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God has the most amazing ways of getting our attention. My friend, Brian, has 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 this slave master, so he took some very bold defensive action. He stayed away from places where he might encounter pornography. He even asked those who invited him to speak to put him up in private homes rather than motels. But one college he was invited to insisted on lodging him in a motel. Well, 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 that 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 his battle for a long time.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Escape Artists."
Isn't it great to know that God is in the temptation rescue business? 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). God knows our sinful tendencies very well. He knows the areas where you'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 temptations. 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."Because 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 has 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 is to analyze those situations and relationships in which you are most vulnerable to your entangling sins. To think about what evasive action you will take when the opportunity to do it again comes up. There are people that you can't afford to be with, conversations you can't afford to be in, shows that you can't afford to watch, music you can't afford to listen to, places you can't afford to go, and situations you just 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 has provided. If you will 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!