All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41
Last week we talked about Eve and Adam. We agreed they were not just standing in the garden trying to figure out a way to disobey God
Unfortunately, even when you are not looking for disobedience, it has a way of coming to look for you. Basically what I am trying to say is, if God says, "Don't eat from the tree at the center of the garden"
Don't hang out by the tree. It is a simple as that.
The truth is that God has created us with boundaries. When we cross those boundaries we start sliding down that the slippery slope that leads to fall and failure. God's word is full of boundaries. Tonight were crossing sheer cliffs of a dangerous mountains range from Tbilisi. Georgia to Batumi. on a rickety Soviet train. Never was the old saying more true, "a train is free only as long as it stays on the tracks." I am so glad that on one of the steep climbs, this "little engine that could" does not start looking for shortcuts.
But isn't that exactly what we do so often?
The sin of proximity happens when go off the tracks, We allow ourselves to be enticed to sin, not avoiding events, people, places, objects or anything else that we know will stir up compromise and temptation in our thoughts and minds.
When you come into contact with an occasion for sin, what do you do? Do you "Flee temptation," or pitch your tent there? That is the six of proximity. When we commit a sin of proximity, we are setting the stage for overt sin to follow.
We are prone to lie to ourselves. "I am ok! I am in control. There will be no consequences." We think we can play around the edges of sin without actually acting on it. This thinking is self-deceptive because sin has tremendous power and, if entertained, can overwhelm us. How many times it did Sampson toy with sin until he did not even realize that the Holy Spirit had left him? He found himself helpless in the face of the escalating consequences of playing games?
Don't be deceived into thinking that avoiding places and things is a cop out or evidence of weakness. Some say that the difference between heaven and hell is the distance from your your head to your heart, 18 inches. In Genesis we read the life of Joseph. He saw his protection from the advances of Pontiffer's wife was two feet away. He used both feet to run from the temptation that would have destroyed him. That was not a cop out, it was strength and faith in action.
Avoiding the people, events or things that tempt us is vital to being victorious. This is not a "formula for success." If that was the case, we could trust the formula and not God. Rules are only tools to enable us to better love Jesus. The real key is to stay in fellowship with Him—to "give strict attention, be cautious and active ... and watch and pray."