Friday, June 12, 2009

The Distance from Your Forbidden Fruit

A boy was lying under a farmer's apple tree, looking up at the apples. The farmer saw him at a distance and yelled, "Hey you! Are you trying to steal my apples?" The boy yelled back, "No sir, I'm trying not to!"

Most of us are "trying not to" yield to temptation. And the more we try not to, the more we give in. Mark Twain once said, "I can resist everything but temptation." So can you! That's why we need to find a better way to deal with our weaknesses.

Like the little boy, Adam and Eve were standing under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, examining the fruit (Gen. 3:6). If they had kept their distance from the tree, they wouldn't have been swayed by its charm. The magnetic pull of temptation grows stronger the closer we get to the forbidden fruit, but it weakens the further away we get. It's very easy to pick forbidden fruit at an arm's length, but it's impossible at a hundred yards away.

Adam and Even could have broken the attraction if they had immediately turned around and run away from the tree. That's the tactic we must use. Instead of fighting the temptation, we must program our minds ahead of time to flee from it. First Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee immorality." It doesn't say to resist, but to run.

Rather than "just say no" to your temptation, "just run away" from it. Avoid going to the places where you fall. Stop stocking the fridge with ice cream. If necessary, disconnect the computer or TV. Quit hanging with the people who pull you down. This creates a distance, or a buffer zone, between you and the magnet where it loses its grip on you. But that's not all we should do. We must also "walk in the Spirit" which I'll talk about next time.
Keep looking up!