Make a Plan to Keep Out of Trouble
"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7 (NASB)
Hot pizza oozing with five yummy cheeses would be delivered in 20 minutes to my front door. I’d ordered it for the people working in our barn. They deserved a feast after preparing the old structure in freezing temperatures for a wedding that weekend!
I, on the other hand, didn’t need to eat any pizza.
Pizza is an innocent delicacy for most people. My problem is I can eat the whole thing! One slice quickly becomes two slices, then three and then the entire pie. Even one bite is too tempting for me. I had to make a plan to stay out of trouble — and not consume all the pizza. So I whipped up a salad and ate it quickly.
The smell of fresh, hot pizza filled the kitchen, but I wasn’t tempted. No siree! My plan had worked. I didn’t eat one slice.
After lunch, I was gloating over my victory when the Lord whispered to my heart, "If only you could be as quick to make a plan to stay out of trouble with other sin."
I don’t know about you, but I often do what I shouldn’t and don’t do what I should. Many times, it’s because I’m not on guard. God warned Cain about this very thing, seen in today’s key verse, Genesis 4:7: "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."
How do we master sin? By planning ahead of time to avoid temptation.
One of the best biblical examples of a man with a plan is Joseph (read more about him in Genesis 39). He’s handsome, young and in charge of Potiphar’s entire estate — except for Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar is the captain of the guard for the king of Egypt.
But when Potiphar is not around, his beautiful wife repeatedly tries to tempt Joseph to go to bed with her. What does this man of God do? He doesn’t yield to the temptation and instead, makes a plan to keep out of trouble: He keeps away from her, and when she pursues him, he flees.
This may seem obvious, but my question is: How often do we follow Joseph’s example? Thankfully, I made a plan to enjoy a salad when faced with the temptation to eat a whole pizza. Others may need to decline dinner invitations to avoid flirting with married men. Or put blocks on their Internet to avoid peeking at pornography. Some may have to limit conversations with coworkers to not gossip. Or cut up credit cards to steer clear of overspending.
When we don’t make a plan to keep out of trouble, the sin that crouches at our door will often be too hard to resist!
While I was contemplating this, one of the guys working in the barn came in the house to get warm by the fire. He was once a drug addict. So I asked him, "What’s your plan to keep out of trouble when temptation knocks on your door?"
He said, "First, I have to stay in the presence of the Lord. Second, I can never allow myself to become complacent. Third, when temptation comes, I call a recovered addict who is also saved by Jesus and he talks me out of the ridiculous thoughts of yielding to sin."
This man and Joseph inspired me with their plans to avoid sin. I wanted to follow suit. So, when he left, I wrote down a few plans on how to keep myself out of trouble.
Sure enough, later there were extra slices of pizza left after lunch.
Someone asked if they could take them. I’m thankful God gave me the strength to say, "Please do!" because I don’t want temptation crouching at my door!
Dear Lord, Give me Your plan to keep out of trouble! I want victory over this temptation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 10:13, "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." (NKJV)
Galatians 5:16, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves." (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What sin crouches at your door? Pray and ask God to help you write out a plan(s) that will help you stay out of trouble.