Friday, June 26, 2015

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There was this county fair my wife convinced me we needed to go to, and I got to see a different world for this old city boy! It was a 4x4 pull, where people in all kinds of four-wheel drive vehicles were competing. The challenge? To pull this massive sled as far as possible. The first event featured standard, unmodified pickup trucks. All the drivers were male except one. Well, the engines roared for about an hour as one truck after another revved and pulled and strained and finally slowed down until it could go no further.

Guess who won the 4x4 pull? Yep, the little blonde-haired girl in the blue pickup truck. And I think I know why she beat all those guys. She studied every competitor ahead of her; especially she studied that sandy spot in the arena where most of them seemed to bog down. And she skillfully maneuvered around that soft spot and she went the farthest - at least partly because she avoided what had sunk others.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Three Loves That Can Sink You."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 10:5 and following, where Paul is looking back at some ancient believers who got off to a great start but bogged down before the end of their race. But this is a lot more than a history lesson. This is an important warning for you and me, because it establishes the wonderful relationship they had with the Lord and a life of many spiritual experiences. A lot like us!

Then this is what the Bible says, "Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them. Their bodies were scattered over the desert." Now, why do we need to notice this about them? He says, "Now these things occurred as an example to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did." Like the surprise winner of that truck pull, we can win if we study what sank those who went ahead of us and avoid those holes.

The Bible then turns its lens away from the believers of the past and then aims it right at you and me. It says, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us. So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." See, God's plea is that we learn from the falls of others; that we keep from "setting our hearts on evil things."

One of the most respected Bible teachers of another century said that it always seemed that one of three loves is what sank every spiritual casualty he had known. After many years in the Lord's work, I think I agree. If you hope to be of service to the Lord and you want to finish without sinking, you need to face which one of these loves might be most likely to sink you.

One is the love of money. Maybe you're vulnerable to temptation when it comes to money. The second is the love of women. So many men have lost before their race was over because they lowered their guard, flirted when they should have been fleeing, and allowed Satan to exploit their weakness. The third love is the love of power. In some ways this is the most insidious because there's no smoking gun as there usually is when you sin financially or you sin sexually. But this is the sin that cost Lucifer heaven. It's pride, and it's still wrecking lives today. Which one, the love of money, the love of women or love of the opposite sex, or is it the love of power and control?

The Bible warns us not to over-estimate our ability to resist temptation. It tells us to live cautiously, openly admitting to God and ourselves where we are vulnerable. And it counsels us to always choose the road that leads away from the opportunity to sin that sin.

Would you look where others went down? If you do that, you can drive your life around those pitfalls. You can finish a champion!