About five miles east of here, on the highway that heads towards Chama, NM and Pagosa Springs, CO, there is a speed limit sign saying "55 MPH." The sign comes as one leaves Lumberton, where the limit dropped to "45" and lets a driver know that now it is safe and legal to drive a bit faster.
If only it were that simple. You see, the road is in very good shape, it has a wide shoulder, and it doesn't get much traffic. The temptation is to drive over the limit, and I've seen people go a ways over, maybe to 75, or a bit beyond. And I know the temptation well, for once, while my mom was in the car, no less, I climbed the hill to find a state trooper just over the crest. He informed me I was going 70 in a 55, and he wrote me a ticket.
Before church this morning I read the opening chapter of Proverbs, which says this in verse 10:
"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent."
If only it were that simple.
The Christian lives in a world surrounded by temptation, and they know it. Some days it can seem as if everywhere they look there is something calling out to them. Something calling them to follow a path separate from the one that leads towards God. We can begin to see something that God has spoken of as right or wrong being more like a suggestion, rather than a rule for our own good. Sort of like my episode on the highway.
One aspect of the good news of Jesus is that today we can see something clearly that the author of Proverbs only pointed towards. And that is that our ability to resist the enticement of sin is something that we don’t do on our own. It is something that we can't do on our own. It is something we can only do when we rely on Jesus.
Jesus is the one who lived a human life that did not consent to sin, or to sinners, from his first breath to his last. And when we have faith in Him then we know that we can turn towards Him and rely on His strength during those times of our own temptation.
When it comes to sin, "the struggle is real," as they say. I can’t promise that you will never give in, for every Christian knows that they yield in different ways every day. But I know that God is faithful and that if you turn towards Christ Jesus, you will find Him.
If only? The truth of God's word is that it truly is that simple.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.