15 September 2014
I don't ever have a difficulty in putting the actual words down on paper/tablet/screen. No, the art is in finding that suitable topic. At any one time I have twenty or thirty 'possible' entries floating around in my head. I currently have seven posts in draft, most at various stages of readiness, not quite ready to publish. Once I start writing, I spend absolutely ages changing one phrase or another, until I'm ready to hit the button and let you see it.
There was a particular issue that I wanted to address, but airing this topic would never be easy. Dealing with it head on would give me more problems than it would solve. Nothing in this blog is ever NSFW and I want to keep it that way!
Suddenly, an email hit my mailbox. It was from Rick Warren and was entitled "Don't Fight Temptation - Flee It!" Oh wow - that's how I can approach it! The email started out by quoting the following bible verse: "Be alert. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong."(1 Corinthians 16:13, NCV)
Whatever habit, weakness or addiction that you or I may face; the first stage of beating it is to open your eyes to the problem. To identify that you have, in fact, got a problem. And to admit that it’s not a sin to be tempted. The trouble comes when you give in to temptation.
Now, here's the point. Our society makes a great virtue out of being strong. Being an overcomer - winning out against tremendous odds. Being first. The problem comes when your strength or willpower fails and you stumble, trip up, give in. You feel a total failure! You pick yourself up, try again. And you could fail again!
The other thing that modern-day society excels in is entirely the opposite to that. They'll tell you, actually, it's okay. If it feels good, do it! So many people try the first way, and then sit for the rest of their lives in the second camp. "I've tried and failed. It's too hard. So I'm just going to sit back and live with it. And who says it's wrong anyway..."
There is, in fact, a third way. We need to flee temptation. We need to run away.
Now, running away is not a terribly popular thing to do. It feels like failure - but it is, in fact removing yourself from an enormous problem. Rick's email quoted one of Saddleback Church’s pastors, a man called John Baker, who said: “You hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.”
Too true! If you want to quit drinking, you need to stop going down the pub to have your lunchtime meal! If you start feeling awful because you're tempted to watch less than wholesome late night TV channels, don’t have those channels any more - use your parental blocks to remove the problem.
You need to know what tempts you, when it tempts you, and where it tempts you. Then - steer clear of those situations.
It might be a matter of who tempts you... The Bible says "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character"(1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV). There may be some people that you need to keep away from.
Sometimes you don’t need to fight it; you need to run away from it. Run after the good stuff in life instead.