Friday, December 1, 2023
It's just one...It's not that bad...
It's just one...it's not that bad...
by David Brenneman
Oh how much a slippery slope is temptation! Oh how little is given to understand concerning it!
I am not normally given to quoting outside of the Bible sources that aren't spiritually inspired...but part of this particular quote is familiar to a great many people.
"Sun Tzu said Know the enemy and know yourself in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril."
Do you take the time to understand what your actions show others of what you believe? Do you take time to understand what little you have considered concerning the true well-being of others?
"And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:12-13.
Many people do not consider how slippery the slope is with regards to temptation.
"It's not that bad. Just take a bite! Just take just one, it won't hurt anything!"
Yes, that one apple didn't do much in the Garden of Eden except condemn mankind to the curse of sin.
People who make such statements just wouldn't hand a recovering alcoholic a drink would they? Wouldn't hand a person who's quit smoking a cigarette would they?
When it comes to life, being aware of stumbling blocks is essential. If it weren't God wouldn't have written warnings about it.
Temptation is not in need of grand words or gestures. Temptation requires nothing but a single thought to fall over that edge.
We really all ought to consider one another above ourselves as written "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4.
It's not easy to do as it is to say. What areas some are not vulnerable in, others might be.
We can be selfish without seeing that that's what it is. We can disregard what others are experiencing at just seeing something or someone without consideration to what it might do to their spiritual life.
Temptation is as attractive as it needs to be to lead thoughts and feelings towards sin.
Sometimes we are so familiar with the path that we don't recognize it for what it is. Sometimes we know and have given up trying to fight it. It doesn't make it right in the eyes of God.
Growing in Christ Jesus is the work that the Spirit is doing in the life of every single Believer. Temptation and sins that result are what hinders that work.
People shouldn't be offered things or be able to have things that will cause them to stumble. Some are strong enough to say no, still others will not put up a fight whatsoever and have no consideration to the consequences.
Regarding one another as more important than ourselves is counter to the selfish will of the sin nature.
As someone else once said of the two natures within...the one you feed is the one who grows.
It's not easy to stop a train of thought that leads to a moments personal happiness.
It's where the thoughts behind the phrase "comfort foods" comes from. It's where various coping mechanisms have been derived. It's why there are so many counselors out in the world for helping people deal with situations that appear to be more than their minds are capable of handling.
A very good visual example is a freight train. There's no shortage of videos or security footage concerning freight train disasters. These several thousand ton trains cannot stop on a dime. Disaster awaits whatever is stuck on the tracks. A vehicle or object goes too far when they should have heeded the warnings...and pays the price. Sometimes in the costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up.
There's costs involved with stumbling blocks. Jesus gives a stern warning concerning them.
"Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7.
It's a matter of training that causes the brakes to be used. Anyone can start a vehicle. Anyone can easily see how easy it is to use the gas pedal. The harder part is the learning how to properly use the brakes. Speeding is easy. Failure to have assured clear distance is probably the next most written ticket.
The next time you offer something that might not be a temptation for you...be aware of how it might be for the next person. It's not always about food or drink or something consumed.
For me it's not necessarily those things but rather situations and circumstances. I have read of the evil ways of people in the Bible. If how evil evil can be in written history. I know how much evil that I am aware that I can be towards myself and others. But I have no idea what those limits are. Some situations I avoid because of conviction. I know what I have done in my past in those circumstances. Of how certainly un-Christ-like behavior came out of me. So I avoid those situations. Don't put myself where temptation exists. Just like former alcoholics avoid bars. Just like those who have succeeded at weight loss avoid the buffet.
"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." James 1:14-15.
Accepted doesn't always mean it's right.
I know that I have to try harder to be considerate of others...what about you? I know that there's things that I know harm others that aren't harmful to me. Is it so great a sacrifice to be considerate?
Being careful of how we see things and situations is essential. We could be causing others to stumble in what we don't see as a problem. Being right in God's eyes is far more important than being right in our own or even other's lives.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.