Our two boys crack me up! Last week, we were in town running several errands as a family. We had made a few stops already and we were working our way toward checking off our final to-do item when we passed a store that Alex really wanted to go into to look at some toys. (Back story… He recently had a birthday and had some cash he had received for the very purpose of being spent on something he would enjoy.)
Normally, we probably would have stopped, but we had already been out long enough that we were all getting ready to be home. We had already told Alex we would not be stopping at that store, and he had graciously accepted it… even though we could tell he still really wanted to stop there.
As we turned the corner and passed the store, I heard from behind us Austin say to Alex, “Don’t even look at it. Look away from it brother, just look away.” We all burst into laughter at the unexpected advice from one sibling to the other. It will probably become one of those sayings which sticks with a family for the rest of their lives.
Then I began to think about what Austin said. That was great advice. I don’t know if “out of sight, out of mind” is true, but it sure helps when you’re being tempted by something.
I’ve been asked over the years what my favorite Scripture is. Truth is, there are so many I love that it really is difficult to select one. But I usually tell people who ask that one of the most useful verses in all of Scripture for me has been I Corinthians 10:13. I was challenged to memorize it in special course for students trying to grow closer in their relationship with God. It has certainly come in handy on more than one occasion when I didn’t even have a Bible with me.
This is what Paul wrote to help people overcome temptation…
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
The part that has always stuck with me is that God would show me a way out of the temptation so that I would not have to give into it… so that I could stand up to it… so that I could endure it and come out of that moment victorious. As soon as I learned that truth… that there is always a way to escape the temptation, always a way to say “no” to it… I began to look for that way of escape in every temptation that came my way. Often, it is as simple as Austin’s advice to Alex… “Don’t even look at it. Look away from it, brother, just look away.”
So, if you find yourself tempted today… whether by something small and simple like an extra piece of cake… or by the cashier giving you too much change… or maybe even by something more serious like taking a drink or taking someone else’s spouse, let Paul’s words echo through your heart and mind. You don’t have to give in. There is a way out. Look for the escape. And then put Austin’s words into practice… Look away, brother, just look away.