October 29, 2018
When Temptations Are Hard to Resist
And don’t let us yield to temptation. (Matthew 6:13, NLT)
Friend to Friend
It was a windy winter day. Our three dogs needed to stretch their legs and get a bit of outside playtime, so I let them out to roam freely in our fenced-in back yard. An hour later, my husband asked me where the dogs were.
“Out back,” I replied.
“Honey, the wind blew that gate wide open and only Rocky is on the deck! How long ago did you let them out?” He asked.
“An hour ago!” I exclaimed, as feelings of unease crept into my heart.
Grabbing our jackets and our shoes, Brad and I bolted outside and began to scour the neighborhood looking for our two little runaway dogs.
“Roman! Steeler! Come!” We yelled endlessly into the biting wind.
After covering several blocks of our neighborhood, having seen no traces of our dogs, I ran home to get my car. While Brad continued to search on foot, I began to drive around and call out for Roman and Steeler from my car. My stomach was in knots, my heart was gripped with ache, and my mind swirled with longing and prayers for our very-much-loved pets to come home. Please, be safe doggies! Please, Lord, help us find our dogs.
We searched and searched. No dogs.
Our phone number is on their I.D. tags! I thought. Maybe someone saw them wandering and took them into their home to call us.
I drove home quickly to check our voicemail. No voicemail.
I decided to stay by the phone in case someone called. Brad continued to search by driving through our development and the surrounding neighborhoods. After a long while, he returned… without Roman and Steeler.
We were crushed. Though we had been praying for the Lord to help us find our dogs the whole time, with heavy hearts we prayed some more.
And we waited.
More than three long hours after the dogs had run away, our phone rang. Hope sprang to my heart as I heard the question from the other end of the line, “Do you have two missing dogs?”
“Yes, ma’am! Their names are Roman and Steeler! We’ve looked everywhere for them! Are they with you?”
“Yes they are. I saw them playing outside by the street and thought that they must belong to somebody, so I called them over. They ran right to me and I’ve got them in my house. They are both a good bit dirty and a little bit scared, and the small one is limping slightly… but they are safe,” she said.
The skies parted and angels appeared in the clouds singing, “Hallelujah!” as I jumped up to grab a pen to write down her address. They were safe! Thank You, Lord!
Roman and Steeler had wandered over a mile away from our home.
Over a mile!
We scooped them up from the kind woman’s house as fast as we could and rejoiced in their homecoming. They needed to be cleaned, cared for, and held. And that’s exactly what we did: cleaned them, cared for them and held them. Oh, how we held them! And as I spoke with gentle, reassuring words to my small, limping dog it wasn’t lost on me… the parallels between them and me. Between them and all of us wanderers.
God has established boundaries in His Word. They are beautiful boundaries surrounding wide-open spaces of His blessing, purposed to bring Him glory, allowing us to thrive in life and to keep us safe from harm. Yet we wander. Oh, how we wander… through so many different gates of temptation.
What is your open gate of temptation? Is it worry, fear, or doubt? Is it food, alcohol, shopping, money, or a good-looking guy who needs to be off your radar? Everybody faces temptations, and while being tempted isn’t a sin, giving in to temptation is. Jesus himself faced temptation and He demonstrated that we are to ask God for help. “And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Matthew 6:13, NLT)
Promise of Deliverance
What should we do when we face temptation? We should call out to the Lord. God promises to give us a way out of any temptation. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Because he himself (Jesus) suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
The wind had blown hard on the day of our doggie drama. Our two furry friends had been allured by the temptations of an open gate. They gave in – disregarding the boundaries that had been established for their safety and wellbeing – and ventured out into dangerous territory where cars wisped by and other dangers loomed. Thankfully, they made it home safe. We are fully aware that the outcome of their rebellion could’ve ended horribly.
Friend, we need to be on high alert. Gates are going to fly open. Temptations are going to come and we need to be ready to run from them. God will give us the strength to resist each one - if we will only ask for His help.
SO… Let’s run away today! Not from the fence of God’s protection, but rather from the gate of temptation.
Let’s run away from any gate that flies open. And let’s pray that the Lord will keep us from yielding to temptation.
Dear Lord, Please forgive me for the times that I’ve wandered from Your plan for me and given into temptation. Teach me Your ways. Lead me to make choices that bring You glory and that allow me to experience the life You intended for me to live. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are your gates of temptation? What is God’s best for you concerning these temptations? Do you trust that God’s boundaries are for your good? Why or why not?
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Originally published Monday, 29 October 2018.