A Chinese man discovered that his washing machine was on the blink. He stuck his head inside the washing machine to check out the drum and see if he could identify the problem. He encountered a bigger problem when he couldn’t get his head out!
His friends tried to free him, but then had to call the fire department which cut up the machine with an electric saw. The man was extricated without injury. Upon being freed from the washing machine, the man said, “It was easy to get my head into the machine, but almost impossible to get it out.” He learned a valuable lesson about life.
Temptation is much like that experience. It’s easy to stick your head in – it’s awfully difficult to get your head out.
Sometimes we think we’ll just flirt with temptation and it will be harmless. No temptation is harmless! The best way to deal with temptation is to resist it before you consider it. I like to watch “The Andy Griffith Show.” Barney Fife was giving advice on the importance of discipline as Andy was raising Opie. He said the way to respond to the first sign of a behavior problem is to “nip it in the bud.” “You got to nip it, Andy – nip it in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it!” Barney continued saying, “You go ahead and check any child psychology book. They all believe in bud nipping.”
Bud nipping is important in dealing with temptation. Once a temptation begins to take root, it becomes awfully hard to resist. A boxer does not wait until he gets into a fight to work on improving his techniques. He does that in practice, so when he is in the ring facing his opponent, all he has to do is demonstrate the results of his preparation.
Good football coaches develop a game plan before the game is played. They anticipate different situations and decide what they are going to do before the situation occurs. Coaches who prepare properly keep their jobs – those who prepare poorly will be looking for another job.
When you are tempted, turn to God first and ask for His help. When Jesus was tempted three times by Satan in the wilderness, He went to Scripture to state why He was resisting that temptation. Read Matthew 4:1-11, when Jesus resisted the temptation, “Satan left and the angels cared for Him (v. 11).”
God is always ready to help. If we ignore Him and try to handle it ourselves, we are in trouble. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When we are tempted, we do not say ‘I hate God and God hates me. Rather we just forget about God, and then we are liable to do what we were tempted to do.’” You win over temptation by what you do before the temptation comes. (Tweet this)
St. Columba came from a royal family in Ireland. In 563 AD he sailed and found himself on a desolate bay in the Isle of Iona, off the coast of northwest Scotland. He had gone there to bring the Gospel to the wild tribes in the Highlands. He became desperately homesick and anxious to return to Ireland. He anticipated the temptation of homesickness and getting in his boat and returning to Ireland. Instead, the first thing he did upon landing at Port-na-Curraich in Iona was to burn his boat so he couldn’t yield to that temptation.
That’s the way to defeat temptation – Keep your head out of the washing machine, burn the boat, nip it, trust God!!