We sat quietly and listened to the three men as they spoke. We were amazed at what we were being offered—a golden platter of many good things including financial resources. And it was tempting to say the least.
We were going through a difficult patch in our ministry and this little escape route looked so appealing. But not everything that looks good is right for you! And more importantly it is not necessarily the pathway God wants for your life. We prayed earnestly—God said no—and so we went back to face the challenges we were confronting and put our hearts back into the work God had called us to. I look back over that time with gratitude and thank God He gave us the courage to run from temptation.
Temptation comes in different forms. Let me assure you that the enemy knows your weak spots and he will always strike there. So when the Tempter comes your way, I say, "Run baby run."
- You Have to Know When to Run: Not all temptations are sinister or sexual, some can be subtle and appear harmless, but when you have discerned the temptation you need to run. In the story above our initial invitation to lead a great church by these three leaders seemed harmless. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the men. They were good and upright people who were looking for a pastor to lead their church. However, as we prayed we realized that this was a tempting offer that we had to run from. We had not finished the work God had called us to—and I am quite certain that work would not be here today if we had yielded to the offer we were being given.
- You Have to Run Immediately: There are other temptations that are far more glaring that we need to run from. When Potiphar's wife told Joseph she wanted to sleep with him he ran for his life. There are some temptations that do not need any consideration—just put on your running shoes and get out of there as fast as you can. If you are married and there is someone you are feeling attracted to—run! Don't throw away everything you have for a few short moments of pleasure. Proverbs is so right when it says that in the end, "it will be gall in your mouth." When it comes to pornography put all kinds of safeguards in place. Don't go to sites that will harm your soul. True, maybe no one will find out, but your soul will atrophy and what goes on in the silence of your head will impact every part of your life and your relationships. And even more importantly, God sees everything, and sin hinders our relationship with HIm. So, run from pornography.
- You Have to Plan your Escape Route: In the quietness of the moment make some calculated decisions. In the cold light of day, with your heart open to the Lord, make some choices.
- Determine that you will honor God all your days: If you are deliberate and committed you will ensure that when temptation comes—as it surely will—you will seek to run from it so that your life honors God.
- Determine that you will cherish your relationships: Proverbs is so wise when it calls us to faithfulness to our spouse. If you make a decision in the cold light of day that no matter what comes your way you will be faithful, then your escape route is secure for when temptation comes.
- Determine that you will guard your own soul: No one can take responsibility for your soul—only you can. You are the guardian of your own heart. Have a mentor or an accountability partner—someone who is willing to confront you with the difficult questions. Do anything and everything you can to ensure the health of your soul.
My prayer is that God will protect you and keep you. But my other prayer is that you will take responsibility to ensure that you run when temptation comes. May your day be blessed and filled with His grace.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,