There is an important principle in handling temptation. Did you know that many times, you can anticipate temptation?
Look at the picture of this mountain path and I will try and describe this principle to you. Imagine yourself at the bottom of this mountain and you want to reach the top. The path circles around the mountain, rather circuitously and over time, you get to where you know this mountain fairly well. You know that when you get to the east side of the mountain, the drop is shear and the side is craggy and the path is treacherous. Fortunately, for you, the path has rails (like in the picture) that help you stay steady. On the north face of the mountain, the wind is very brisk, you almost feel like you will be blown off the path. On the west side, the path is lush and covered with trees that shield you from the rain and sun. On the south side, it is stark and barren and the sun or the rain beats down upon you miserably.
You know pretty much what's coming ahead because you have been there before. So you continue on your journey in anticipation. You know that you need support when you come to the slippery east side. You know that you need to grab trees and use your walking cane on the windy north side. You know that you can take it easy and enjoy yourself on the west side. You know that you need to apply protection to prevent sunburn on the south side.
Usually, as you traverse up a mountain, it takes less time to go around it because it is usually smaller the further up you go. Just like temptation, the more you prepare for it and the more times you say no to temptation, the easier the path.
Do you have the picture? Do you get what I am saying?
Think of this path as your life. You can pretty much predict what will happen if you go certain places. If you have to go someplace treacherous, get some support. Take someone with you, be accountable when you go there. If you find yourself in a place that can blow you off your feet, look for trees and walking canes that you can grab onto. If you are in the heat and need to apply SONSCREEN, ask God for His protection.
This is the principle to handling temptation: Anticipate, think, plan, pray. Use your brain. Trust the Holy Spirit's guidance.
You can't use the excuse, "I just couldn't help myself, after all I'm only human."
God gave you a brain, you're not stupid.
You're not an animal that just reacts. You can think and plan ahead...
BE A MAN.
My thanks to Tom Eisenman for this concept.
One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh --
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach --
But I am not ordained to preach.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)