Have you ever seen a house or apartment building on fire? It’s a scary scene. Flames and black smoke spewing from the roof and windows. People jumping as they try to escape. Rescuers frantically searching for anyone caught inside. As a bystander, you helplessly watch as destruction takes over. The once pristine structure is headed for ruin.
This is a picture of what happens when we give in to temptation. When we play with fire we get burned. And the whole house may go up in flames.
Yesterday we looked at the closing doors of opportunity. Today it’s time to go behind the closed doors of temptation.
Temptation. All of us will face temptation of one kind or another. And we will never outgrow it. Temptations will be tailor-made to what we can’t resist at that stage of our life. Whereas doors of opportunity are closed by someone else, we’re often the ones closing the doors of temptation behind us. We go in willingly, but then darkness sets in. It’s hard to see clearly when light is covered up. Or gone all together. We don’t want anyone to see us in that place of temptation. And certainly not God. We’re weak and we know it. And we like what we’re doing in the moment.
Unfortunately the aftermath of temptation destroys us. Maybe all at once. Maybe bit by bit.
The door may be closed and locked behind us, but there’s always an option in temptation. There’s always a way to escape the burning house. Turning to God. He is our strength. He is our shield. He alone can transform us from the inside out.
He alone can transform our life.
God knows about temptation. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert without food or water as He was tempted by Satan. Jesus was alone, exhausted, starving, dehydrated, and extremely hot. For an entire month plus ten days. And yet He didn’t give in. At any time during that 40 days He could have zapped Satan off the face of the earth and ended the temptation. But He didn’t. He didn’t use any miracles or almighty power to fight. Instead, He used God’s Word as a sword to cut through lies and claim victory in truth. Why?
To show us that we can do it too. And to show us how.
When we shut the door of temptation behind us and start to give in, the truth is that God always opens a window. And sometimes that window opens once we pick up our sword. God never puts us in a place that others haven’t been before. He never allows us to be tempted more than we can handle. But we have to make the decision to stand up and get out. The question isn’t whether or not we’re strong enough to stand up to the temptation. The question is: When the house of temptation is burning, are we willing to jump out the window or will we go down in flames?
We have a choice. It’s not an easy choice to make in the heat of the moment. So it’s important to have an evacuation plan. Either a person we call, a Scripture we memorize to wield our weapon of truth, or somewhere we physically get up and go so that we stand up to the temptation and get out of the house before the fire overtakes us. We may have to practice our evacuation plan day after day as we make our choice to escape the flames. And that’s ok. Each time we make the choice and follow through with our evacuation plan, we get a little bit stronger. A little bit more confident. A little bit wiser. But let’s not ever forget: Temptation will come knocking on our door again.
When the door of temptation closes behind us, it’s time to put our evacuation plan in action. And if the only way out is an open window, jump! God will be there to catch us, even if we can’t see through the smoke. Better to be bruised from the fall than to go down in flames.
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
May I pray?
God, it feels like darkness is overpowering us when the doors of temptation start closing. We want to trust You, but we can’t see clearly. We’ve given in to temptation as we’ve tried to find an escape from our troubles. And sometimes we’ve made such bad decisions that now our temptations have locked us behind closed doors. Jesus, You know all about temptation. Please rescue us today! Give us a verse of Scripture that we can hold onto like a sword. Please fill us with the courage to jump if the house is burning down around us. Amen.
Q4U: What door of temptation has closed you in, and what step can you take today to turn to God for help?