We all suffer from some temptation that seems to haunt us. You know the one that I’m talking about. It’s probably different for you than it is for me because that’s just how sin works: it makes us feel isolated and attacks us as individuals. Sin is a predator who seeks to isolate one sheep from the flock, then, when that sheep is at it’s weakest, sin can devour it.
No matter what that sin is that keeps attacking you, God’s Word gives us the same advice: get rid of it! Get rid of every temptation that tempts you to sin.
If you struggle with pornography, then don’t allow yourself to be alone with a computer. Get rid of it!
If you struggle with drunkenness, then don’t allow any alcohol into your house. Get rid of it!
If you struggle with explosive anger, then remove yourself from situations that make you angry. Get rid of it!
Whatever your sin may be, don’t put yourself in situations where it will tempt you. This seems so simple. But far too often we ignore this simple advice and act like Jacob does in today’s Scripture passage.
Please read Genesis 35:1-4.
God has called Jacob, so Jacob decides to get rid of all temptation to idolatry and follow God exclusively… Or does he? Did you notice what Jacob does with his idols? He doesn’t burn them. He doesn’t destroy them. He doesn’t throw them into the bottom of the ocean. He hides them.
What happens when we simply hide our temptations instead of getting rid of them completely? They come back to tempt us again. Time and time again, Jacob’s descendants would go back to this hidden sin. Time and time again, the Israelites would give in to idolatry and rebel against the Lord their God. Often, they would repent of their sin and return to God, but their repentance was never complete. Rather than getting rid of their temptation, they would simply hide it away. They would probably vow never to return to it again. But because nothing was really preventing them from doing so, eventually they would find themselves crawling back to that same hidden sin.
Many of us have been there, and this is tragic. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the bondage of sin. Sin is no longer our slave-master. We are free in Christ, and we no longer need to go back to our sin.
So, please, heed the Word of God today: whatever that pet sin may be for you, get rid of it. Don’t just hide it away. Don’t just promise yourself that you’ll never go back to it. Instead, build a wall around that temptation that cannot be broken. Here are a couple of suggestions:
If you do not heed these warnings, if you do not build a wall around your temptation so high that you’ll never return to it, then you will never experience the freedom that Jesus Christ wants you to know. He died for you so that you can be free to live for Him. You are no longer in bondage to your sin, so stop living like it.
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