There is something I see happen almost every day that always seems to baffle me. The way I drive home I cross over railroad tracks that are right before a stop sign. The Department of Transportation has taken the time to paint a white line on the road to mark where you should stop if you want to be safely off the tracks and out of the way of the arm that comes down to prevent you from crossing the tracks while a train is going by. This intersection often gets backed up between 5-7pm and there are many times where the stop sign is backed up passed the railroad tracks. Almost without fail, every day I will see a car either stopped on the tracks or past the white line that is there saying “stop here so your car would get smacked by the arm that is going to drop when a train comes.” Not once have I understood why someone would do this. Every day I try to think of what could possibly be going through their heads. I try to think of a good reason to stop on train tracks. So far I have not come up with any, but if you have some feel free to leave them in the comments. Maybe I am just not daring enough. I have even witnessed someone have the bar land on top of their car because a train came and they stopped past the line. To stop past that line really makes no sense. If you can’t clear the tracks, why would you purposely put yourself at risk of harm? I’ve seen plenty of videos of what happens when a car picks a fight with a train, and none of them ended good for the car. Yet I see someone stop on the railroad tracks almost every day.
I have never stopped my car on a train track, but there are things I have done to put myself in harmful situations. God has place things in our life that serve to warn us that we are putting ourselves in danger, but there have been so many times I have ignored those things. I see the line painted on the road, but then I choose to cross it anyway when I know it’s not safe. I hate to break it to everyone reading this, but I am not perfect. Temptation is a beast, and it’s not going away. No matter how holy you want to act, you will always deal with temptations. How can I be so sure?? Jesus said so. In Matthew 18:7 He says, “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.” Jesus said temptations are inevitable, so we shouldn’t try to act like we don’t have any. There is no way around it. We are all going to deal with temptation. I think if we are all honest with ourselves we will admit that we know this but we just like to ignore it. We want to act like things are not a temptation for us. We want to act like we can handle things on our own. We all want to be big boys and girls who can take care of ourselves.
Sorry but you aren’t. You have never been able to take care of yourself and you never will be able to. The faster you realize that the faster you can see real change in your life. Jesus came to this earth for a reason. It wasn’t because everything was going smoothly and we were all doing fine. He came because we needed to be rescued. He came because we needed an escape from our sins. We needed an escape from our temptations. You can’t handle it. James 1:14 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” Your temptations come from your desires!! There is no way to escape your desires, therefore there is no way to escape temptations. So if we can’t escape them there is only one thing left for us to do: learn how to deal with them.
Lucky for us, God provides us with a pretty simple explanation of how to do this. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.” Run from it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are to run away from the things that tempt us. Seems easy right? Yeah right. Like I mentioned earlier, our temptations come from our desires so it’s not going to be easy to run from them. But do we really want to put ourselves in harms way? Do we really want to stop our car on the train tracks? Do we really want to put ourselves in a place where it is easier to fall into sin? I think it is safe to say that the answer is no, but so many of us do. I am extremely guilty of it. I’ve had to teach myself how to run from temptation. And how is that??? I’ll give you some examples.
Example 1: Angela and I started dating last August. With dating comes some perks. You get to cuddle, you get to kiss, you get to spend time alone with each other. And with dating comes some huge risks. All those perks can easily turn into sin. I am a guy after all, it is not hard for hormones to take over. So when we started dating we decided to set rules and boundaries. We set limits on our relationship so that we would not head into the temptation of getting overly physical. Not only did we set rules, but we gave them to someone and got them to hold us accountable (oh no… please tell me Nick didn’t use the A word). We were serious about keeping our relationship pure and we took some serious measures to make sure it stays that way. You can call us crazy, but I’d call it true love.
Example 2: When I used to wait tables there was a part of the time where I mainly worked as a bartender. I started working behind the bar because it was easier make money. But along with the money came a lot of other stuff like flirting with drunk girls to make a better tip, laughing at some guy’s crude joke to make a better tip, and the temptation to join in and get completely wasted (yes most bartenders drink on the job). Finally I decided the money was not worth it. I went to my manager and told him I didn’t want to be a bartender anymore and that I would rather just work on the restaurant side again. It was a move that was viewed by most of my coworkers as insane. People were desperately trying to be bartenders and here I was giving it all up. I think God blessed my decision financially and I removed myself from all the temptations.
You’ve got to put boundaries in your life. You know what causes you to fall into sin. You know the places that you go that you shouldn’t. You know the people you hang out with that you shouldn’t. You know the stuff you look at on the internet that you shouldn’t. You know the words you say that you shouldn’t. You know. It’s time to draw some lines and to stop crossing them. It’s time to stop putting yourself in harms way. The Bible says to run from temptation so start running!! And get someone to help you. Sometimes you feel like you are struggling all on your own but the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” You are not on your own and you are not alone. There are other people going through the same things you are going through. We can help each other. Many people are scared to get accountability because they are scared of being vulnerable. They are scared of being open and people knowing they are broken. The truth is that everyone already knows. Everyone knows you struggle. Everyone knows that there are times you give in to temptation and enter into sin. We can help each other, but only if we are open and honest with each other. We can draw lines and create rules, but if there is no one to help us enforce them then they usually don’t do a lot of good. If there wasn’t the risk of getting hit by a train, no one would care about stopping on the tracks. If I didn’t have rules with Angela we would have probably taken things way too far by this point. If we aren’t willing to let someone help us, we probably won’t get very far in helping ourselves. Galatians 6:1 says,”Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.”
Temptation is a beast. Temptation is inevitable. We need to start running from it. If we want to be serious about it then we need to get other people to help us. As big and as tough as temptations can be, if we look at the rest of 1 Corinthians 10:13 we see that, “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” No matter what the temptation is, there is a way out. There is a way to run. So lace up those running shoes and get going.
until next time…