Other "Thinking Drafts" and writing by Keith Drury -- http://www.indwes.edu/tuesday .

 From: Money Sex and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press

Chapter 11


Christians sometimes fall into sin. They don't have to, but they often do. I'm not an old man, but I've been around long enough to learn a little bit about why Christians do fall into sin. There are an number of ways to fall into sin, but hare are three sure-fire ways to do it.

1. Hang around it.

This is the easiest way to sin. Simply keep hanging around the person, place, or thing that is tempting you. One fellow who had been delivered from alcohol showed up at his pastor's home early one morning after an all-night drinking binge. The story came out in slurred speech.

"Well, I was so happy that I felt no desire to drink that I parked my car at my old hangout to see if I still had no desire to drink. sure enough, I didn't, so I went inside and sat down to even further test this new found strength. I held on and still didn't want a drink. So I ordered a drink and sat it on the bar in front of me. The I crumbled. I had this overpowering urge to drink -- so I did. One thing led to another, and now I am on a binge again. I guess God didn't really deliver me after all, Preacher."

How like this drunk we are. Something inside us seems to make us want to walk precariously on the edge of temptation. There are certain things -- perhaps books, magazines, or videos, or certain people and places -- which seem to trip us up and head us in the wrong direction. Why do we keep hanging around these tempting things?

Part of the reason is that Satan has tricked us into believing we are stronger than we really are. We would rather stay near temptation and wrestle with it than to run away. Perhaps we even get a thrill out of placing our heads in the mouth of the Roaring Lion. We might escape unscathed. More likely, we will wind up in the belly of the Tempter.

If you want to keep from falling into sin, don't hang around it. What temptation do you hang around?

2. Excuse it.

A Christian friend of mine fell into serious immorality a number of years ago. As we counseled together, his only defense was the "I couldn't help it -- it just happened."

Baloney! Sin doesn't "happen" to us as if we are innocently walking along and sin "happens" like a sudden rainstorm. Sin is a willful choice we make. We are not helpless robots of our environment, desires, or glands. We are free agents capable of choosing what we think, say, or do. If I act unkindly, it is because I choose to act that way -- not because I have a headache. If I choose to think unsavory thoughts, or pass along some tidbit of gossip, it is because I choose to say or think those things -- not because God made me a certain way.

If we want to overcome temptation we must lay aside all our excuses which make sin less serious than it really is. This includes well-worn ones like, "It's such a little thing," "Everyone does it," "I can't help it," and "That's just the way I am." We can't get off the hook. Sin is a personal choice -- and no excuse will cover it.

If you want to keep from falling into sin, don't excuse it. Is there some sin you are tempted to excuse?

3. Struggle alone.

Many of us are like the Kamikaze pilot who flew 33 missions -- we make a good start but are unable to carry through. The problem: lack of accountability. Each of us needs another believer who will check up on our spiritual life now and then. I'm not talking about broadcasting our temptations all over the congregation. I mean asking someone to hold us accountable for our promises to God and to check up on our progress.

I adopted this practice of spiritual accountability too late in my life. Fifteen years ago I struggled with severe temptation in desperate isolation, sharing it with nobody in fear of what they would think. Now I know why... it was pride. I was actually more concerned with what people thought of me than I was about overcoming temptation.

Later I discovered the value of a "covenant friendship" where someone loved me enough to hold me accountable in the areas of temptation and growth. What a difference! No longer do I struggle alone.

If you want to keep from falling into sin, get an accountability partner and quit struggling alone. Who is your accountability partner?

As long as Satan is prince of this earth, believers will be tempted. In fact, all he needs to do is to get us to hang around sin, excuse it, or struggle against temptation alone and he may get you.

The good news is this: we do not have to sin. With good sense, and a lot of God's grace, we can be victorious over the many devices of the devil. It is actually possible to live obediently. It ought to be -- God has commanded that you do it.


 From: Money, Sex, and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press
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