I had an eerily realistic dream last night in which I was faced with the choice to step back into a lifestyle of sin. In the dream, the temptation came in the form of a coincidence. I had to choose whether to run away, or stay and talk over my options. I ran quickly. However, the same temptation, no longer coincidental but now pursuant, kept coming at me...faster and more direct. I began to discuss the reasons why I wouldn't give in to the temptations, only to find myself being more tempted.
I awoke with sweat on my forehead and a thick fog in my brain, but ever so thankful that it was just a dream!
It made me think about how we deal with temptation. The first form of temptation is usually very subtle, but out of nowhere. Our minds are often not prepared to deal with it. We often don't even realize we're weak in the area in which we're being tempted. So, instead of running, we toy with the idea in our minds until it becomes something we can live with, something that no longer seems as bad as it first appeared. Then each subsequent temptation becomes a little stronger, a little more overt. And with each caving, we find ourselves in circumstances we'd never have imagined. We find ourselves justifying each action.
In my dream, the first instinct to run was correct. But each time after, I thought I could reason with sin. Isn't that what we do? As Christians, we know to put a stop to temptation, and run from it. Sadly, we often think we can play with fire. We think we can reason with Satan. And the longer we stick around to discuss the reasons why we shouldn't give in to temptation, the longer we think about how appealing the temptation is. Before we even realize what's happened, we are in a world of shame and guilt.
We often don't decide to leap into a lifestyle of sin. It happens one small step at a time; one justification at a time; one caving at a time. But once we're on the path to sin, it becomes a slippery slope that we no longer know how to exit. Choose wisely...run in the opposite direction.