2000-04-11 - Flee Temptation

2 Peter 2:9, 10 Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties.

Do you ever pray the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us (me) not into temptation,” with a little extra personal feeling? Sometimes it is important for us to actually flee a situation to avoid exposure to it. If we are really praying that the Lord would not lead us into temptation, when we are exposed to temptation we ought to flee it right away.

We all know the various propensities we have towards particular sins. No matter what your struggle is, when you are confronted with that sin, it may be incumbent upon you to flee and get away from exposure to that sin. For many of us these exposures to spiritual hazard are attractive to us. They often afford a moment of pleasure, worldly gratification, or a sense of pride and importance.

We should not linger in an area where satan has an advantage over us. We might think of making escape from this or that sin, but in thinking, we linger, and begin to taste the sweetness that this worldly gain, amusement, or conversation gives us. This situation begins to be, to us, one of peril. We should not linger, we should flee.

Granted we linger thinking that all will be well. But by indulging the flesh, our taste for the attractions of the world are strengthened. In addition, our sense of the danger of the deceitfulness of the world is diminished. Like Lot, it becomes easier for us to live in a situation that is harmful and leaves us exposed to things that do not advance our calling or faith.

John Bunyan, in his work, Pilgrim’s Progress describes wonderfully this dangerous tendency to linger in that which is perilous to us:

“I saw then in my dream, that they went till they came to a certain country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy. And here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy with sleep. Wherefore he said to Christian, I now begin to grow so drowsy, that I can scarce hold up my eyes open; let us lie down here. By no means said the other, lest, sleeping, we never awake more. Do you not remember that one of the shepherds bid us beware of the enchanted ground? He meant by that, that we should beware of sleeping; ‘wherefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch, and be sober’”

A good lesson here. Let us also not be caught sleeping on the job in our Christian duty of sanctification-lest we never awake again our spiritual life. Rather let us flee temptation where we can, and fight it where we must. And may God give us grace to understand the importance and necessity of this aspect of our Christian life.

Soli Deo Gloria,