“Let’s get something to drink.” The offer disembarked from a deacon’s son who attended my church…and he wasn’t referring to a soft drink.
My consensus began a long and shameful journey into the world of alcohol. Christians debate whether alcohol is permissible or forbidden. For me it was prohibited, but my philosophy didn’t prevent me from taking the trip.
For the next six years, I sporadically visited the bottle…sometimes in moderation, sometimes not. Although my conscience (God) bothered me, it wasn’t convincing enough to outweigh the desire to fit in with the wrong crowd I clung to. Bad company really does corrupt good morals (I Corinthians 15:33).
In teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus addressed the problem I was fighting: yielding to temptation. And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation (Luke 11:4 NLT).
Many mistakenly think, “Since I’m tempted, I must not be a good Christian.” Jesus was the perfect human yet was enticed. Temptation isn’t sin…giving in is. I didn’t sin because my friend invited me to imbibe. Sin pulled in when I took the first sip…and of anything else God forbade me have, think, or do.
The good news is God gives us power over temptations. He promises he’ll never let any of them be so intense that we’ll be forced to cave in. Avenues of escape are always lurking nearby if we’ll look, but preparation beforehand is vital.
Living close to God through a healthy prayer life, time invested studying his Word, association with the right crowd, and a firm commitment to godly convictions help us meet temptations head on with a “No thanks.” Which, by the way, should have been my answer. When temptations come calling, say “No.” And if necessary, run.
Prayer: Thank You powerful Father for giving us strength to overcome temptation. Guide our steps that we might learn to stay away from situations and people who tempt us to be less than You desire.
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