Associate Pastor, Administration
Have you ever been in a situation where you just knew something was not right? You could tell by looking around you that something bad was about to happen?
If you are over 35, I’m guessing you remember August 14, 2003. I was coaching a tennis practice that afternoon, and at the time was completely unaware of what was going on in Michigan and in many states to the East. But as I headed home, unusual things kept popping up. There was a buzz to the radio station, traffic lights weren’t functioning properly, and suddenly life was not normal. These “signs” were indicating that power had gone out from here to New York City.
The other day I read Proverbs 7, which describes a young man who lacks sense. If you read through that chapter, you can see by the “signs” that something bad is about to happen. For the young man who lacks sense, the first sign is that he is wandering around in places where he should not be. The second sign is that he is wandering around at the wrong time of day. Then he listens to the wrong person. Finally, the Bible describes him as “an ox being led to the slaughter.” But we could see it coming, right?
I remember a preacher telling a story about a man who regularly stopped to get donuts on his way to work. Deciding this was not a healthy habit, he eventually made a deal with himself that he would only stop at the shop if there was a parking place available. So the next day as he drove by - sure enough, there was an empty spot – his third time around the block! That’s what temptation is like, isn’t it? When we deliberately put ourselves in a position to be tempted, we will be. When we fail to heed the signs, we set ourselves up for failure.
I heard another preacher give this advice when it comes to temptation: “Fill your routine with rules.” What kind of obstacles are in your daily routine that keep you from pleasing the Lord? Do you have any “rules” for yourself to guard against temptation? TV can be a source of temptation for me. I enjoy watching sports and I am often alone when I do. A rule I try to follow for myself when watching TV is not to channel surf. I pick my game and then leave the remote alone. I don’t want to be the “ox being led to the slaughter.”
There was nothing I could have done to avoid the power outage back in 2003. But when it comes to my own sin, the “signs” God gives me serve as warnings to keep me from falling. Temptation is present and lurking for all of us. My challenge for you today is to heed the signs and take action. The beginning of Proverbs 7 encourages us to keep wisdom as close as a family member. Creating some guidelines for yourself is one way to do that. As the saying goes, when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.