Defense, Defense, Defense!!
Read Proverbs Chapter 1
Pr 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.
Pr 1:15 My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin.
The recovering alcoholic must spend the rest of his life on guard against temptations which could once again enslave him. The recovering drug addict must do the same. We SSA men and women who are recovering from the devastation of living outside God’s will must also be continually defending against unexpected opportunities to get back on the wrong track.
I had an interesting experience a while back. Many of you know that I go to McDonalds most mornings and do my bible study there. One day, a man came in and sat down at the table next to me. It quickly became obvious that he was trying to gain my attention. As time went on, he began to ‘pat his foot.’ Most of you know what that means; he was coming on to me. I ignored the obvious attention. The next day, he came back and did the same thing. Once again, I ignored him.
A part of me wonders why he thought that I would be interested. I wonder if some of the local gays, who know of my ministry, put him up to it in order to entrap me and use it to make my witness in the area where I live null and void. Another part of me wonders if it were a test by evil forces as an attempt to get me off track. I don’t know. But there is a lesson to be learned here which easily ties in to the scripture passage from Proverbs.
Each of us must be constantly on the alert for the remainder of our lives. Our enemy is always lurking about, wishing to ‘sift us like wheat,’ or ‘like a roaring lion, wishes to devour us.’ Careful thought needs to be made about how we will respond to our enemy’s traps. The writer of Proverbs does a great job of giving us the wisdom we need when that circumstance arises. Our minds need to be solidly prepared to say, “No!”
Don’t get me wrong, I have not always been prepared to respond correctly in such situations. In the case I mentioned, I was ready. I have had enough of the pain, suffering, heartache, despair, and shame which inevitably comes when moral failure is the victor. I have experienced enough of it personally, and I have seen that same devastation in the lives of too many other men. This particular temptation came at a good time in my life. Perhaps God had a purpose for this happening to me. It was a good lesson. As I thought about the incident, my mind traveled into the ‘what if’ department. What if I had responded wrongly? What could have happened as a result of my failure? It boggles the mind!
The writer’s wisdom needs to be firmly planted in our hearts. “If sinners entice you, do not give in to them.” “Do not go along with them.” “Their feet rush into sin.” Let us prepare our hearts and minds to be ready to reject temptation when it appears unexpectedly. We can do it.
There is always an opposite side of each coin. How many times in the past have I been the one doing the enticing? I don’t like to think about that, but it is a good thing to be reminded; when we entice another person, we not only sin, we lead others into sin. God forbid!
A final thought: Some of you may be wondering, as I did for a short while, “What if that was an opportunity to witness, and I missed it?” If it was, the Holy Spirit certainly missed out on making me aware of His purpose. The thought, at the time, never crossed my mind. I have to trust that God would have made it very clear to me if that were the case. And He did not. I have no conviction that I goofed in that regard.
Wow! Just one day after penning this one, my bible study took me to Proverbs Chapter 6, and this verse jumped off the page. I had never noticed it before. Coincidence?
Pr 6:12 A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, 13 who winks with his eye, SIGNALS WITH HIS FEET and motions with his fingers, 14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up dissension. 15 Therefore, disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we have enticed others and when we have failed to say no when others entice us. Keep us always alert, so that we can choose rightly each time when we are surprised by our enemy.