I am somewhat what I’d like to call a ‘soft-drink-holic’. Up until two weeks ago, hardly does a day go by without my consumption of a bottle of soft drink. This is mostly due to my ‘not-such-a-fan-of-water’ nature. But then, two weeks ago, I placed myself on water therapy and decided to abstain from soft drinks.
I was enjoying my abstinence but alas, four days ago, which marked two weeks of abstinence, I woke up in the wee hours with hunger pangs. I looked around for what I could eat and found a packet of biscuits. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “with what am I gonna push these biscuits down?” Shortly, I spotted a bottle of sprite, which had been lying around untouched. I convinced myself that sprite would be a better deal than water and before I knew it, I was gulping sprite, ending my self-imposed abstinence from soft drinks!
Well, it’s not like it’s the end of the world, as I can start all over again (if I so desire), but this incidence did point out something to me. I noted that even if it had occurred to me to accompany the biscuits with soft drink instead of water, I wouldn’t have gone through with it if there was no soft drink close by. It was so easy to fall into the temptation because the object of temptation was staring me straight in the face.
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
“Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.” 1Thessalonians 5:22 (AMP)
“Keep away from every kind of evil.” 1Thessalonians 5:22 (TLB)
“Stay away from every form of evil.” 1Thessalonians 5:22 (NET)
The best way to SAY NO to temptation is to stay away from the object of temptation. Keep it at bay; not close by. Don’t frolic with it; keep it out of sight.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41b),” means that though our spirit man longs to say no to temptation and do right, our flesh (body) cannot readily walk away from what it desires, which is why we always struggle to “do it” or “not do it.” Most times, the flesh wins this struggle and we see ourselves doing the very same thing we vowed not to do – again!
Saying no to temptation may mean physically removing yourself from a tempting situation (in the case of Joseph) or may simply mean staying away from tempting situations. For some, doing the former may not be quite easy (depending on each individual’s area of strength and weakness) but the latter provides a surer avenue to walk free and not give in to temptation. Why? Simply because when you’re not in temptation zone in the first place, you’re not likely to be tempted and even if you are (errant thoughts just pop up here and there), there’s nothing around (object of temptation) to lure or compel or trap you.
It’s not enough to pray not to fall into temptation; it’s a must to also watch…”Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41a). Part of watching is consciously abstaining/keeping aloof/keeping away/staying away/keeping at bay/avoiding/keeping a distance from anything that poses as an object of temptation to you.
Look around you today, are there any objects of temptation close by? Do away with them.
Jesus is LORD!