Wednesday, March 18, 2015
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When you think of a name that goes with magic, you'll probably think of Houdini. Harry Houdini was the master of illusions, of incredible escapes, which makes it almost ironic how he died. He defied all kinds of dangers in his life. Like the time they tied him in a straight jacket, hung him upside down from the eves of a tall building and he got out. Then there was the time he escaped from an air-tight tank filled with water.
One of his tricks involved inviting people to come up and hit him as hard as they could in the stomach. He never winced. The story goes that one day there were several people in his dressing room asking him questions. He was lying down because he had a broken ankle. After reportedly receiving permission from Houdini, a young man in the room repeatedly landed his hardest punches in Houdini's stomach, except this time Houdini wasn't ready for it. He hadn't tightened up his stomach muscles. Supposedly that blow to the stomach caused his appendix to rupture and it killed him. Getting punched there wasn't the most dangerous thing he'd ever faced; he just wasn't ready.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Beat Temptation Before Temptation Beats You."
Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God which comes from Luke 4, and I'll begin reading in verse 1, "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert where for forty days He was tempted by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. The Devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' Jesus answered, ‘It is written man does not live on bread alone.'"
No one ever said the Devil plays fair. Here is Jesus' weakest spot – hunger, and of course Satan goes right for that. Satan thought there was one way He could get Jesus to do what he said, and that was to hit Him at the point of his hunger. Maybe that's how the Devil comes after you. Think about some of these questions: If I were the Devil, what weakness would I go after to bring me down? Is it your big ego? Do you always have to get the credit? Or would he go after your insecurity, your feelings of inadequacy, your desire to be loved, your need to control, your sexual weakness, your materialism, your loneliness, your low self-image, that need for affection, that tendency to worry.
It's important to know where your most vulnerable spots are, because your enemy knows. So how do you handle it? How do you get ready for the punch? First of all each morning, having identified that weak spot, knowing where he will go after you, you consciously surrender that spot to Jesus; that weakness to the Lord. Make it His area of your life that day.
Secondly, deal with any of yesterday's failures. Bring yesterday's failures under the cover of 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Get rid of yesterday's failures, so they don't set you up for today.
Then the third thing is to do what I do when I get on an airplane. Identify your exits. I always check and see where the exits are. You've got to see where your exit is from that temptation and say, "How can I avoid being in a position where I could have my weakness exploited by my enemy?" Make sure that you candidly and completely bring that to Jesus.
And finally, learn scripture that relates to that area of weakness so you can do what Jesus did that day in the wilderness. Answer that temptation with a bold response from the Word of God. Don't get careless because you've beaten that weakness a few times recently. First Corinthians 10:12 warns us, "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"
Houdini didn't die because of the hit. He died because he wasn't ready. Don't let Satan knock you out with his punch because you're not ready. When you make the area that has been the Devil's playground into Jesus' holy ground, you are ready for any hit.