It happens more than I would like, but every so often our kids fight over some toy or other thing and besides helping them resolve the conflict, I often take that object they are fighting over and remove it from the room. Within a short time, they often forget about it, till there is a conflict over something else. We pretty much employ the same strategy over things like candy. If it is sitting in a bag on the kitchen counter, the requests for candy are often multiple times per day, since the temptation is sitting right in front of them. If it is put away in a cupboard, even though they know we have it, we get very few requests and in fact still have candy from events several months before. So, does the same principle of ‘Outta Sight – Outta Mind’ we use for kids work the same for adults as well?
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 2 Samuel 11:2-3
One of the most famous biblical stories of temptation starts out with avid strolling around and then seeing something he wanted and devising a plan to get her, resulting in sin. If he would not have been looking where he should not have been, the rest of the story would not have played out how it did. Temptation always starts out somewhat innocuously and starts to snowball into after we let it take hold of us, almost every time. We all have had something lead us down the path to sin at some point in our lives and once we have been down that trail a few times, the path gets worn and much easier for us to travel. Regardless of whether that is substance abuse, sexual sin, pornography, theft, or any other thing we know is wrong, but still feel compelled to do. When we avoid that initial path to a place we know is not good for us, the temptation to sin is not as compelling either. After we get into a place where that sin becomes a pattern, we often need more external help, other than just our own wills, to help us out of those cycles.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
So, whenever you find yourself tempted to go somewhere that you know will not end well, make a decision to avert your eyes, and mind, from that place so that your feet are less likely to travel there. Take it to God in prayer and get closer to him so that you are less tempted to wander. Have friends who actually care about you and do not push you to do things you will regret. All these and other strategies will help keep you on the ‘straight and narrow’ better than proudly thinking ‘that will never happen to me,’ because it does. No one ever thinks dabbling in sin initially will ever bring them to a place of deep regret, but that possibility is always there. May you always have success in avoiding those places and helping others do the same!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Yours in Christ,