My Last Best Thoughts for 2020 ~ blog
The summer of 1973 was the first year I was a Christian. I trusted Christ to be my Savior after being hit from behind in a Summer League lacrosse game in Baltimore. I was in extreme pain from a ruptured disc in my back until I had surgery after Christmas of 1972.
However, it was that Fall of ’72, with my pain grinding away in my back every day and the only relief being found in massive doses of ibuprofen, that I started having doubts about my future. During my freshman year, I started on the Varsity lacrosse team and was the highest-scoring midfielder as a freshman.
So, I was pretty conceited about myself, but pain has a way of bringing you back down to earth and then tries to bury you in fears and self-pity. Wrestling with these fears I found myself turning to God for help and asking Christ to be my Savior. As I lay there on my bed, I started to feel God’s presence in the room. As I confessed my sins, I felt waves of forgiveness wash over me as I became born again by the Spirit, and my life was changed forever.
I did not even know that I had just became born again. That all my sins were washed away by the finished work of Christ, that I went from being spiritually dead in sin to becoming spiritually alive in Christ and was now I was a permanent member of His family. I felt something happened. I felt forgiven but had no idea the monumental changes that had taken place and what a metamorphosis had happened.
The next summer of 1973 I began to be discipled by someone from the Navigators and was told I should memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 which as I look back was prophetic.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.”
There are some great thoughts in this passage like temptation is common to everyone. That is right you are not the only one being tempted sexually. The good news is that God is faithful, and He promises to not allow the temptation to be more than we can bear. Plus, He also promises to provide a way of escape. There is always a way of escape…that’s right…always.
Here is the problem…the more you allow any temptation to OVERTAKE you, the longer you play with the idea or move in for a closer look the temptation will overtake you and your escapes become less and less. There is a temptation time factor. Call it the frog in the kettle factor or temptation is cooking you in its oven until you are done…there is a time factor. The sooner you look for the escape God has promised to give you the easier it is to escape.
Let me illustrate with something almost all of us can understand. Every day we are driving down the freeway of life covering the miles we have to drive through. However, there are signs along the highway advertising the opportunities that are ahead. Sometimes there might be one or two before you reach that location but if you are driving to the beach there will be fresh farm food signs one after another to increase the likelihood that you will stop for those fresh-picked tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, and corn.
This is advertising causing you to think about what is coming up in hopes to get you to stop and partake. Whether it be fresh fruit or fresh porn we see or think about the temptations that are ahead and our appetite for sex grows so that when the real opportunity comes up, we have already decided we will stop and partake. And when this has become an addictive behavior like porn and sex which is now available almost anytime and anywhere if we are not looking for our escape we are going to give in, pull into the next bathroom, and have another sexual snack.
However, God promises a way of escape. The problem is we have blown past that escape or exit with our flesh laser-focused and growing more and more powerful through the day. It is like we are approaching Sin City, not wanting to go there, but blowing past all the exits to be able to take the beltway around it.
There are two problems or mistakes we make. We do not know which way we are going driving through our day following our daily schedule focusing on the immediate things around us and without a plan. Plus, we are not aware of our feelings and thoughts which can be acting as warning signs that there are problems ahead. Or, to put it another way, we have little to no awareness or mindfulness of our surroundings.
There are exits for the beltway that will take us around the temptations and those exits are God’s promised ways of escape. However, we are usually too focused on what we must accomplish each day with work and the demands of life that we get up, rush off to work, and blow right past God’s beltway for your escape to what lies ahead in Sin City.
Remember, God, promises us all that He will provide an exit or escape so that we might not have another fall. But we do not listen and drive ourselves into another fall. So, here is some very good advice to help you in this daily battle with temptation…
KNOW YOUR ESCAPES AHEAD OF TIME!!!
Before you rush off into your day spend time with the Lord preparing for what lies ahead. If you are going away for a business trip think through the times you know you will be tempted and plan your escape BEFORE the temptation is upon you.
If you are tempted after your wife or friends go to bed…go to bed at the same time having turned your smartphone off and buying an old alarm clock. Listen, a little planning ahead and realizing what things you are feeling and dealing with each day is knowing where the escapes will be and taking them as your day unfolds.
Remember, your temptations are common, run-of-the-mill stuff that you can anticipate and escape before it even reaches you or you reach it. Have an exit strategy determined ahead of time and tell your accountability team ahead of time so that they can check in on how you are doing. That is the value of teamwork or you can continue to be a lone sheep just waiting to become a dead sheep.
Contact me about joining one of our Online Support Teams and find the power which true community, accountability, and daily support will make in your losing battle. Hundreds of men have found the help they need in our 180 Online Support Team ministries. If you really want 2021 to be a year of making progress you must step into the light and get the help you need and that we can provide.