By Lynn Jones
While I was a student at Southwestern Seminary, I also served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Newark, Texas, a small village about 20 miles north of Fort Worth. Roy was a member of our church who did construction work in Fort Worth. One day Roy picked up a hitchhiker in south Fort Worth. As they headed north on I-35, they struck up a big conversation. When they came to the place where Loop 820 crosses I-35, the hitchhiker suddenly said in a big loud voice, “Take a right, Roy.” Before he realized what he was doing, Roy took a right and headed east on 820.
In telling me about the incident later, Roy said that he had no intention of going east on 820. In fact, it was several miles out of his way. He was mad at himself for allowing his passenger to start giving directions.
In some ways, it is a parable of life. Satan has a way of coming on board our lives as a seemingly innocent passenger. You must be careful, however, because before long he’ll be giving all of the directions.
That is the pattern of temptation and sin in our lives. We have an innate tendency to go in the wrong direction. As one person prayed, “Lead us not into temptation,” he added, “We can find plenty of it on our own.”
We do have a weakness in that area. It may be true that opportunity knocks once, but temptation takes its permanent position at the door of our lives and knocks incessantly. It is no credit to us that we often open the door and let him in. What we need is a stronger resolve and a deeper determination to resist temptation.
During World War II, the Germans overran Norway and occupied the country throughout the war. In the country, there was a group of people who were committed to opposing the Nazi occupation. These people formed an underground network that was often dubbed “the resistance.” They resisted the occupying army and refused to give in. Many of them paid with their lives. At the end of the war, a monument to these martyrs was unveiled in Norway. On the monument was inscribed only one word: “No!”
“No” is a short word, but it is a powerful word. It is a word that we ought to use frequently when confronted with temptation.
Of course, our ultimate victory over temptation does not lie in a firmer resolve on our part. It lies in the help of God. One small boy knelt beside his bed. As he prayed, he said, “Lord, if you are supposed to make me a good boy, you are not giving me enough help.”
God’s help is available, and it is enough. I encourage you to rely upon His help today in your struggle with temptation.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org