Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 30, 2013

Thought For The Week September 29, 2013

Rev. Bernie Gillott, a missionary evangelist with Global Teen Challenge posted a devotional thought entitled The Sin of Proximity, that I thought would be excellent food for your thoughts. Here is his devotional:

“I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray. (2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV) Temptation begins in your mind. Eve, like most of us, was not just standing in the garden trying to figure out a way to disobey God. That is until that old devil planted the thought.

“I’ll say it again, ‘Temptation begins in your mind.’ It was Satan that suggested that Eve eat the forbidden fruit. The initial thought to do evil is not always from you. It is the product of a deadly mixture of compromise, habit, and hell. Our new nature does not come up with ways to rebel, but somehow, they always seem to be there waiting. Adam was not looking for a way to get into trouble. He had the perfect gig. Beautiful wife, great job, intimate relationship with the Father. How did it all go so wrong?

“The devil studies you the way a coach scouts the upcoming opponents. He pores over the films of their games, identifies tendencies, and exposes weak spots. In much the same way, the devil is constantly at work to identify our weak spots. He is able to lay the perfect stumbling block, not because he can read your mind, but because he is been watching you and listening to your words. He knows shortcomings. He knows which temptation has the best chance of succeeding because he knows your tendencies.

“But before you feel all defenseless and get discouraged, God gives us this assurance: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NAS). With every temptation, God offers a lighted exit sign. The key word here is ‘with’. While you may never be exempt from temptation, you can always be victorious over it.

“How often have you ended up saying, ‘I promised God and myself that I’d never do that again,’ yet you did it? That’s because Satan knows what works on you. I can remember times in my life when I have said, ‘God, it seems like every time I try to follow you, I fall flat on my face.’ I’m so grateful I heard God’s answer, ‘Keep following me son, at least you’re falling in the right direction.’

“There is a promise of victory available to those of us who will make a commitment to finding a place of intimacy with God rather than making a careless commitment to compromise. When I hear people ask, ‘How far can I go before an action is sin,’ they are already falling victim to the sin of proximity. I am sure Eve did not want to disobey, but if you stand too close to the tree there is a likelihood the enemy of our soul has a thought to plant for you.”

Here’s what encourages me in this devotional. First, we have to understand that the initial thought to sin is not always (I would say almost never) from me! The devil plants those thoughts at our areas of weakness in the first person. He doesn’t say, “Tom, you should do…” Rather it comes like this, “I (Tom) think I should do…” He makes us think it’s us!

Second, and most important, falling is not failing if I am falling in the right direction! As long as I get up and keep following Jesus, I’m constantly moving closer to Him. Understand, this by no means ever excuses me sinning. I make my purpose to stand as far from the occasion to sin as I can so that proximity doesn’t put me in the range of the devil’s thoughts. I grieve and repent when I do fall. But I trust what my Savior has done for me and know that If I confess my sins He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (my personalized version of I John 1:9). What about you? What part of Brother Bernie’s devotional encourages you? Tell me our thoughts.

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