Avoid the traps
Paul wrote, ‘The person you obey is your master. You can follow sin, which brings spiritual death, or you can obey God, which makes you right with him.’ When it comes to sin, the Bible draws a line and tells us not to cross it. That’s because if we cross it once, we’ll find it much easier to cross again. Paul talked about ‘the person you obey’, but we could also replace ‘person’ with ‘temptation’, or say ‘the thing you obey is your master.’
Whether our particular temptation is something like alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, or even something that seems less damaging, like spending a lot of time on social media or taking the car for short journey that we could have walked, we start out believing we’re in control of it, and end up realising it’s got us trapped. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, ‘I can stop whenever I want to.’ But often the damage has already started. Spiritually, we can lose our confidence before God. Personally, we can lose our sense of self-worth. Publicly, we can lose respect and influence with others. And if we’re not careful, even good things can hurt us. A strong work ethic can lead to neglecting family and friends. Vegging out in front of the TV can slow our spiritual growth. Even too much caution and thoughtfulness – which are good qualities – can prevent us from stepping out in faith and fulfilling our God-given potential.
When God says no, He isn’t trying to make life difficult or boring; He’s protecting us. If something has the potential to trap you, don’t do it. But if you’re already feeling trapped by a temptation or habit, don’t lose hope. Turn to God and He’ll set you free.
Get together with a trusted friend, and play a game of snakes and ladders. Each time you land on a snake, tell God about a temptation or habit that you think might end up trapping you, and ask for His help to overcome it (do this silently if there’s something you don’t want to share). When you land on a ladder, thank Him for the uplifting hope and love that He offers.
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