Our neighbor had warned us. It was an unusually good year for copperheads. Several had been spotted in our neighborhood, and our neighbor’s dog had run into one of the slithering reptiles, that landed the poor animal at the vet with a snake bite.
When we walk our dogs now, we take extra precautions to keep them out of ivy and other areas that the snakes might frequent. Last week, as we walked the last few blocks to our house, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Joe, bounded over to explore something in one of the neighbor’s yards. The lawn had been freshly mown and he was in a mood to explore.
His sudden leap backwards, caught us by surprise. As we walked over to take a closer look, there it was. A copperhead coiled up in the grass, ready to strike. You better believe we hightailed it out of that yard in seconds flat! We sure hadn’t expected to see a snake out in the open like that. Fortunately for Joe, he was able to move quickly enough to avoid danger.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible warns me of the dangers I will face in life. Some of the temptations lurk in the shadows, beckoning me to come take a closer look. Others, are out in the open, but attempt to blend in with the surroundings. No matter how the temptation appears to me, God’s word gives me a clear directive, ‘Flee.’
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians spells out some things I’m to flee, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18; KJV). A few chapters later, he warns, “…flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14). Paul was very familiar with human nature. He wrote a letter to a young preacher, Timothy, and his congregation, and included a strong admonition to avoid worthless arguments and the longing to be rich.
Get the picture? Temptations come in all shapes and sizes. As I walk through this life, am I alert to these pitfalls? Do I have my running shoes on so I can be quick to flee? Fortunately, Paul doesn’t only warn me of these dangers, he points me to help and hope. How encouraging to find that when temptations come calling, I don’t have to answer. God’s word assures me, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). An escape route DOES exist, I just have to look for it and make my exit!
When I’m aware of the pitfalls, and realize that Jesus provides a way to escape every temptation, I can stay on a path that gives me hope, allowing me to “…follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11b).
In life, there are definitely some things from which to flee. But I love the fact, that when I’m careful to submit to my Heavenly Father, and I refuse to give in to the enemy, the word of God tells me that Satan has to flee! “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Picture the devil having to beat a hasty retreat as you deal him blow after blow with the word of God! Now that’s a picture worth remembering!
The next time temptation knocks on the door of your heart, keep those running shoes on, and find that way of escape - rejoicing in the One who is faithful to deliver you!