Temptation – it is as old as the Garden of Eden. We are confronted by it daily; sometimes in small ways, sometimes in life altering ways. It doesn’t come to us wrapped in an ugly bow, looking like something we don’t want to touch. It usually comes to us looking beautiful, attractive and inviting. We are usually lured by the look of it or the sound of it. I don’t know how many times people have tried to talk me into things and made them sound tremendously appealing.
“Just once,” is a phrase that comes up when facing temptation. Others or ourselves will say, “Just try it once, it can’t hurt anything.” But is that really true? The doctors’ offices are full of young people who wanted to try having sex “just once” because everyone else was doing it. Some of them end up becoming pregnant by a person they would never want to marry or father their child and they must face a life altering decision then and there. Others have gotten an STD which may or may not be with them the rest of their lives…all because they wanted to have sex “just once” with someone they met at a bar or a party.
I remember listening to a formerly successful real estate broker. She was invited to a party where they were doing cocaine. It wasn’t the first time she had been at a party where there was cocaine, but people began telling her how great she would feel if she used it. “She could work longer hours and it would give her more energy,” they said. So, she tried it “just once.” She was not immediately hooked on it but she changed her social schedule around and only began attending parties where cocaine was available. She continued to use it and eventually she was hooked on it. After she spent all of her cash, sold everything she owned and ultimately sold herself to get the drug, did she hit rock bottom and seek help. Now she talks about the danger of trying that addicting drug “just once.”
Marriage counselors’ offices are flooded with people who wanted to watch pornography “just once.” Whether men or women, after they saw the first film, they became hooked. They couldn’t get the images out of their minds and it drew them back more and more until it became more of a draw to them then their own mates. And many times, their marriages became shipwrecked on the shores of this alluring temptation.
Most of us know people who have been in these situations. We might even have been in these situations. All because of giving into a life altering temptation “just once.” Ravi Zacharias said it best, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Temptation – it’s all around us. What can we do when we are faced with it? The Scripture gives us wise advice: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13
In other words: First, don’t think you are immune to it. We all can fall into temptation. Second, temptations are common, not unique, to each and every one of us. Third, God has promised that He will provide a way of escape from each and every temptation we have to deal with. We just have to ask Him for help when we are faced with temptation and it is available. We must look for the way of escape that He provides and then take it. We must run as if our lives depend on it, for they may well.
Temptation – let’s not be deceived into thinking it will be okay if we try it “just once.” That’s a lie straight from the pit of Hell.