Monday, February 1, 2010


Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Eleanor! Stop! Stop, Eleanor!

The high-pitched, penetrating shriek of the dog owner's earnest command boomed across an otherwise tranquil setting. Within seconds, I saw the muscular frame of a dark-haired, mixed-breed dog dart from behind an outbuilding that was set back a distance from the road. Charging headlong in my direction, I immediately discerned that "Eleanor" was intent with a single purpose. Me.

Each time that I walk, I pretty much take the same three-mile route. As a result, I've become familiar with hazardous spots in the road where the pavement tends to dip or loose gravel collects. I'm acquainted with areas where the terrain offers wonderful views for taking in a glorious sunrise or sighting shy wildlife.

Likewise, I've become aware of property owners who don't leash their pets. While my internal radar is usually up, as a rule I don't become overly alarmed by an unrestrained dog. The shrill-sounding voice of Eleanor's master combined with the menacing pace at which the animal charged at me, however, I now thought differently.

I automatically froze in my tracks. Instinctively, my fingers curled inward forming two tightly-clenched fists. My left arm unthinkingly crossed over my right arm, even as my fists sought safety under my arm pits. All the while, my arms intuitively hugged at my body. Motionless, I stared straight ahead and braced my body to meet Eleanor.

Although the impact of Eleanor's large structure against my 5'2" figure knocked me off balance, I stood my ground. The thickness of my jacket provided a barrier between her teeth and my arm as she attempted to grip my left arm in her mouth.

"Eleanor. No! Come!" commanded the dog's owner as she clutched a leash in her hands. Eleanor stopped, turned on her heels, and ran back to her master, who immediately harnessed the animal.

Isn't that just like temptation?

You're going about your day minding your own business. Suddenly, a less than honoring image appears at the forefront of your thoughts. A perceived unfair situation causes envy to grow in your heart. An unkind word in response to a difficult situation forms on the tip of your tongue. You rationalize that a selfish act requires less of your time; besides, no one will know.

We can't predict where temptation will come from. It's something we can't escape. Many times, it's the least likely thing that presents the real danger.

Temptation itself is not sin. It's something we are bound to face simply by virtue of being human. It's essential to a person's well-rounded life. The hazard in temptation is thinking we can beat it on our own power.

What can we do when we are enticed?

Be alert. Recognize the danger. As the apostle Peter wrote, the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.

Stop. Don't go a step further on your own ability.

Protect yourself. Answer temptation with the truth of God's Word.

Let God take charge of the situation. The writer of Hebrews encourages us that the blood of Christ cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death (Hebrews 9:14). God most assuredly sustains us in the midst of all threats. Ask Him to provide strength and protection in all dangers and carry you through temptations.

My friend, satan no longer has the power to destroy those who belong to Christ. When temptation comes your way, freeze. Call on the True Master. He'll put a leash on the danger.

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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