The importance of dealing with temptation
The use of a hiking itinerary is mixed among through hikers. I would say that almost without exception, every hiker starts with a “plan” of how many miles they want to average each day, what town stops they want to hit to resupply and an end date to complete the trail. However, as another modern philosopher Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit.” You can also use the military version of “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”.
A virgin through hiker will over estimate their ability, under estimate the terrain, and delude themselves into a quick and successful hike. For many, this will be the tipping point for them to quit and get off the trail. The temptation for ease and comfort is too much for them to be willing to hike one more mile.
Have you ever put a plan together for something and seen that plan fall apart? What were the circumstances? What was the outcome?
The same is true of Christian men and women when it comes to the topic of temptation. We over estimate our ability to resist temptation, under estimate the power of temptation and delude ourselves into believing that we aren’t or won’t be affected by its lure.
So how does a through hiker deal with a busted itinerary? They adapt. They adjust. They take a reality check for clarity. What they DON’T do is quit. At least, not the ones who make it all the way to the end.
Christian Outdoorsman, TV Personality and Worldclass Hunter Jimmy Sites shared a story at a recent wild game supper that I thought was very important. His father gave him the option of temptation and participation and asked him which was wrong.
So which is wrong, temptation or participation?
Jimmy’s response was initially participation but he changed it to both thinking his father was asking a trick question. His father told him that the participation was the right answer but that the real issue with a person moving from temptation to participation was a crucial moment in between. What was that you might ask? His father told him it was “hesitation”. That lingering moment where we have seen temptation raise its hand and wave. We linger, we hesitate, we think about it too long, then participation becomes irresistible and begins.
Temptation Hesitation Participation
The challenge for the through hiker is not to hesitate in their thinking about plans or miles or issues. They have to be decisive about what the next step will be then take a literal step on the trail. They can’t afford the luxury of hesitation. He who hesitates is lost as the saying goes.
Look at any verse that speaks to dealing with temptation and the verbs are the same: Avoid, Flee (1 Corinthians 6:18), Abstain (1 Thessalonians 5:22), Resist (James 4:7), Run. These verbs are very active. They invoke an action. There is no debating, no thinking it over, no rationalization. Get out of there. Git. Run, flee, avoid…don’t hesitate.
1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” The way of escape always begins with action. With the step away. It is encouraging to know that God does not allow us to be tempted “beyond our ability”. It is profoundly important that we see that as a promise directly from God Himself. If we can believe and have faith in that promise, we can know that the outcome will be positive and glorifying to God. If I know that God promises me that the temptation that I see before me is not more powerful than Him and that He has already provided an escape mechanism for me, then my likelihood for hesitation goes down. My trust is in God’s power, His provision, His grace and not in my perceived ability to resist because I’m all that and a bag of righteousness chips.
When the plan gets busted, this is where the hiker gets some help. When you are tempted, the help is already there. The promise is already given. You can know what the outcome will be. Have faith in the promise of God. Do not hesitate.
2 Timothy 2:22 “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
I will trust God’s promise that HE is stronger than any temptation that comes my way, that He has already provided an escape. Yes / No
I will stop hesitating when it comes to temptation. I will act. Avoid, Run, Flee. Yes / No