Avoid Temptation

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
We were driving through rural Bangladesh when suddenly our driver stopped the van perhaps a quarter of a mile from a small village. I asked why we had stopped, and the other Bengalis pointed ahead to a commotion in the road. As it turned out, men from another village had come to fight with these villagers and there was a general melee, with sticks and fists and many injured. Our driver wisely held back and waited until the fighting was done and the crowd dispersed before we continued on our way.
Since then, I have seen similar caution used many times. “Defensive driving” in Bangladesh is not only a matter of avoiding other vehicles, but often avoiding fights, strikes, and other hazards of the road. Drivers quickly learn to watch far ahead so as to stop or turn to stay out of congestion that can trap the vehicle and its occupants and make it vulnerable to attack.
This practice is similar to that of the cautious and wise Christian as he seeks to avoid sin. Too often we live rather recklessly and aimlessly, finding ourselves surrounded by temptation. It is not surprising that we often succumb and sin. Satan is wise and powerful, confronting us with seductive circumstances. Faced with seemingly irresistible opportunity, urged by strong desire, we fall.
Temptation is much easier to resist at a distance. We live with caution, looking ahead so as to avoid situations that are unnecessarily tempting. Like the alcoholic who knows to stay out of taverns, we avoid places and even people whom we know to encourage evil-doing. Sin is too serious for casual play. We must recognize it and avoid it, whenever possible.
So the New Testament reminds us, “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Let us take the caution of the Bangladeshi drivers and apply it to an even more important area of life. Live defensively — stay far away from sin.

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