The young horse approaches the jump, eyeing it suspiciously as though it was a snake in the grass. The young rider sits astride her charger blithely aiming the animal toward her goal. Two feet from the poles the animal leaps sideways and the young rider learns another lesson as she picks herself off the ground. But where did they go wrong? Where had the decision been made that set them on this path of doom.
Many would say that we find ourselves in difficult situations where sin is crouching at our door and we feel helpless, powerless to fight off the tentacles that wrap around our heart. We scoff at the verse that says we are not tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). “God must not be seeing me the right way because there is no way can bear this.” And then it says He will always make a way out. It’s ridiculous. “I am trapped and there is no escape.”
But who is this God we serve? Does He lie? Does He ever promise and not fulfill? Ever?
So what happens? Either God is not being truthful with us or something else is going on.
When did the horse decide he would not take the jump? When did he decide to yield to his lord? When did temptation seize him and make him its slave? Not two feet from the jump, not five feet from the jump. When the obstacle, the command, the path was presented is when the decision was made. The horse saw what lay ahead and made a decision then and there that he was not going to obey. That is where the temptation came and his heart was taken. That is where his way of escape came and was ignored.
We want to play with temptation. And to be sure, we have the choice still along the way to change our mind, change our heart and let Jesus be our Lord. It is really a series of decisions that is made with increasing ease along the path to our destruction or our glory. We can yield at the beginning and then decide we can’t take anymore and fall away. But it usually comes down to a decision we made initially that we have now built on, either to obey and live or disobey and die. I don’t say that lightly, obedience leads to life, disobedience leads to death. There is no middle ground, no safe haven where we can play with sin and remain unscathed. So we need to see where we decide that we will not yield to Jesus.
That’s why Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God. It is a way that we prepare ourselves to begin each moment of our day saying “yes” to Jesus and “no” to sin. It is our way of setting our minds, fixing our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is my Lord. He is my King. I cannot be moved from His presence.
And in that, we escape the tendrils of sin.