August 17, 2021 — Planning the Exit

“One of my neighbors,” Stan commented one morning, “travels a great deal with his job. It seems like he’s gone more than he’s home.”

“That can be tough,” I responded, “on the person, the marriage, and the family.”

“Certainly can be,” Stan said, “but my neighbor seems to have everything in the right perspective and everyone is doing fine. No problems.”

“In fact,” he continued, “he was over last night talking about something he always does when he checks into a hotel while traveling, something that he applies to his faith walk as he is gone so much.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“In the first instance, he said that every time he checks into a room at a hotel or motel,” Stan replied, “the first thing he does is to check to see where the nearest exit is located.”

“In case he needs to get out in an emergency,” I commented. “That’s smart.”

“That’s right,” Stan said, “and then he said that he does the same thing with the temptations that may arise while he’s there.”

“What same thing?” I asked.

“The nearest exit,” Stan replied. “He said that he makes every effort to keep himself out of situations that may cause temptation, but that when he finds himself in something he needs to get away from he seeks the nearest exit.”

“Smart again,” I responded. “Did he give any specifics as to how he does that?”

“He mentioned a couple,” Stan replied. “He said he focuses on a couple of different verses in Scripture that really help. They come at the matter from two different directions and are equally  important to him, as well as for me, in our faith walks.”

“What two directions?” I asked.

“In the first instance,” Stan replied, “is a verse in the Old Testament from the Book of Deuteronomy that instructs us to keep evil out of where we are and what we are doing.”

“Kind of like not being where there is evil,” I said.

“Or allowing evil to be where I am,” Stan commented.

“And the second?” I asked.

“From the New Testament, in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth,” Stan said, “where Paul addresses the fact that God provides the way out of every temptation.”

“If we will only look for the exit,” I said. “For the way out.”

“Look for it, know where it is, and use it,” Stan responded. “Knowing God will provide a way to escape does me no good if I don’t open my eyes to see the escape route.  Also, seeing the escape route does me no good unless I choose to go that way and choose to follow it until I have escaped whatever temptation Satan is seeking to use against me.”

Concluding, he added, “God will provide the way.  The question is whether I will choose to follow it.  It’s always a choice I have to make, and I know I can make it if I am prepared and have planned the exit.”

___________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

You shall purge the evil from among you. Deuteronomy 22:21.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 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, that you may be able to endure it.  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  1 Corinthians 10:12-14.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you want me to remove evil from my midst and that when I cannot remove the evil, you want me to remove myself. Thank you, too, for providing the way out of every situation in which I am tempted to satisfy myself rather than to follow you.  I confess that too often I do not take advantage of what you provide in the way of escape.  Please help with all you can provide so I see your way of escape. And help me in wanting to  follow that escape route to where you intend for me to be, which is closer to you.  Having seen your escape route and having decided to take it, I ask for your help in persevering so that I follow the escape route to the end.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you believe that God wants us to remove evil from where we may be at any particular point in time? Why or why not? If you agree that we are to remove the evil, how would you describe situations where that is not possible? In such situations, do you agree that we are to remove ourselves? If no, why? If yes, how? If you agree that God provides the way out of every temptation, how are you doing with seeing and taking advantage of what God provides for you to do that? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in dealing with temptation, how is that going to happen?

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