One day last week, Bill and I ate lunch at Golden Corral in Casa Grande, Arizona. As fate would have it, we were seated right in front of the dessert bar. And for the ones of you who know me, this was not a good choice. I love sweets and I do not have much will power when it comes to sweets. I could easily just skip the meal and go straight to the desserts, which is not good when you are trying to eat healthy. Consequently, I must admit I did partake in one or two or maybe even three of the desserts before we left. And I enjoyed every bite.
But something else that I enjoyed during that meal was watching all the other people as they came to the bar. They would start at one end and walk slowly to the other end. They would thoroughly inspect every item on the bar. Sometimes they would do this more than once before they would actually make a decision. But finally, each person that came to the bar would grab a plate and give in to their desires. They would always walk away with at least one dessert on their plate but more often than not they would fill their plate with several different desserts. As I observed, not one person walked away with an empty plate.
As I watched this pattern over and over, it occurred to me that this is a perfect illustration of how Christians are often persuaded to fall into ungodly, worldly ways. We put ourselves in the wrong places. We allow ourselves to become comfortable living too close to sin. We watch as other people participate in activities that are not considered Godly. We watch as it seems like these people are having so much fun. Sometimes, we even walk beside them thinking that we can be the stronger person and we can lead them in the right direction instead of them leading us in the wrong direction. We decide that if we just give in a little, it will be okay. But it’s not okay!
You see, had I not sit right there in front of the desserts watching as everyone else topped off their meals by splurging with desserts, I might have had the willpower to resist. Had I sit on the other end of the restaurant far away from the temptation, I might have been stronger. But since I didn’t, I held out as long as I could (which wasn’t very long) and then I convinced myself that it would be okay to have a cheat day. I had been doing really well on my diet plan and one bad day would be okay. I could make up for it by walking an extra mile or by eating less the next day.
The same is true with sin. If we put our self in the presence of sin, it will sometimes start to look appealing. It will become harder and harder to resist. We may even try to justify what we are doing by saying that everyone else does it. We, as Christians, need to avoid those situations which we know might have a tendency to make us falter. Stay away from those places that look appealing to our worldly flesh. Just like it says in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We may also need to stay away from people who try to bring us down. In Romans 16:17, we are told, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” And in II Thessalonians 3:6 we are also told, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”
Since none of us are perfect and temptations seem to surround us, we need to do our best to avoid those places, situations, and people who might cause us to falter. In fact, the next time I eat at Golden Corral, I am going to sit on the far side of the dessert bar. I am going to try my best to avoid the temptations! For it says in I Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
This is Nana Nancy, Let Jesus be YOUR Guide as you enjoy YOUR ride!