Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002

Subject: Stay Out of the Quicksand

Dear Ethan & Emily:

Well, we come to the end of the week and the end of our brief study of temptation.  Just a few closing thoughts…

The key to defeating temptation as we have seen is an “active” strategy of “running away,” “arming ourselves and fighting Satan and our flesh with Scripture,” and “avoiding” any and all situations that would lead us down this path.  James would refer to this as “resisting” and it has the desired result:  “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

But we must continually be “on guard” to temptation, as it is sooooo very easy to “all of a sudden” slip into situations or thoughts that act like “quicksand” in their allure and grabbing power.  Paul recognized this fact when he admonished the early believers:  “Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galations 6: 1 – 2)  Did you catch what he said?  He didn’t use the words “be careful” and “fall” carelessly…he knew how carefully we must watch every step if we are to live a victorious and overcoming Christian life.

Note also that he says there is much value in sharing our weaknesses with others.  Be careful who you talk with…but all of us can be strengthened if we have at least one Christian “accountability partner” with whom we can share and derive strength from.  In fact, Paul says that in doing this…”we obey the law of Christ.”

And as we close, “Let us cling to Him (Jesus the Son of God) and never stop trusting Him.  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Hebrews 4: 14 – 16)

Take special note with this passage in Hebrews that coming BOLDLY into the very throne room of God…into His presence…follows directly after the reference to our weaknesses and temptation.  The “quicksand” of temptation is so strong that God understands…and expects us….to coming running…out of breath…brashly and desperately into His presence to seek help. 

Also, “…remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”  (1 Corinthians 10: 13)

As to the power of prayer, Jesus Himself gave this advice to his disciples:  “…Pray that you will not be overcome by temptation.” (Luke 22: 40)

So…be on guard each and every day for the “quicksand” of temptation that is often hidden from easy view…but grabs with tenacious power if we fall into its trap. 

Just remember, if you happen to fall into temptation’s grasp, God through prayer is always there to throw out a lifeline.  But…so much better that we stay clean…avoid the dirt…and the struggle…be vigilant…run…fight…seek counsel from a trusted friend…and watch and pray…that we stay clear and stay out of the “quicksand.”

Have a great day…