Before we make a sinful decision, a series of circumstances occurs beforehand that makes temptation harder to resist. It is in our power to change situations in which fertile circumstances influence us to sin. When we choose to stick with those circumstances, we are guilty of the sin before the sin … of getting too close. Think of it as the sin of nearness.
The sin before the sin involves the little decisions that set us up for temptation plus the “final step”, which is the decision to commit the sinful act itself. If we are to overcome the strongholds in our lives that constantly pull us in the wrong direction, we have to come to a place of obedience. We need to do everything possible to eliminate occasions that are in our control, that precede our sin. We all know what these occasions look like.
If Satan has a stronghold in your heart regarding food, then be aware of how you are feeding the supply lines of that stronghold. When you make the decision to stop at the fast food place, or walk into the kitchen, or open the pantry or refrigerator door, you are making it easier to be tempted to sin. Resisting these earlier steps before sin will cut off the supply lines and the stronghold of Satan will weaken over time. That is why it gets easier each time you resist temptation.
Failing to eliminate stumbling blocks that lead to sin is a serious issue for many of us. Sexual temptation has presented itself to most of us at some time in our lives. Today’s scripture advises us to run from sexual sin. The closer you get to sexual temptation the better it looks. With sexual sin, the longer we are in the presence of temptation the less likely we are to escape without sinning. It is so much better to avoid the sin before the sin … to run from the sin of nearness. Don’t turn on the computer in an isolated place; don’t touch yourself; move that sexual image out of your head as soon as it appears. Jesus warns that when you lust, you are committing adultery.
The closer we get to the good sensations of the sinful act, the harder it is to resist, especially when we are feeling down, lonely, bored, sad, overwhelmed, out of control, powerless, fill-in-the-blank for the feeling that cripples your ability to run from the sin of nearness.
Today, take notice of the small decisions that lead up to your actual wrong decision. Draw a little map or timeline, so you can see the options you had to take a different course before you made the sinful decision itself. Resist the sin of nearness to cut off the supply lines and strangle those strongholds Satan has in your life. Stay in fellowship with Jesus. Turn to Him for the strength and discernment you need. With Him, you can do all things.
Dear Father God, help me notice the many warnings and opportunities you give me to turn away as I walk down the path to sin. Help me recognize stumbling blocks and be a better steward in the “little” decisions that lead up to the “bigger” decisions. I can only do this through submission to Your Holy Spirit guiding me in Your wisdom and empowering my action. Especially, help me to run from all temptation that may be involved in sexual sin. Help me to run away from this sin and toward You. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One You sent to teach me how to resist temptation, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18