Beware Of The Evil Day
The place you can see in this photo always has a fascination for me, with fear mixed in. It’s a long causeway called the Afsluitdijk that acts as a dam across an inlet of the North Sea in the Netherlands. It looks pretty safe, but at the same time very unnerving – as there is so much water either side of it! Maybe our lives are a bit like this bridge – we think we’re safe but are actually perilously close to the edge at the same time.
I was really struck by something Alistair Begg said in a message about David’s sin with Bathsheba. He was giving some pointers on how we can try to avoid falling into sin (and of course the context is sexual sin), and the one that stuck out was this particular warning:
‘I want to say to myself constantly, “Beware of the evil day.”… That is the day when desire, and temptation, and opportunity coincide. When they coincide that’s an evil day. Because if you’ve got desire and temptation but no opportunity you can get out. You can get out with two of the three. But when the three come… Wow.’
That really resounded as so true… and scary. You might think you’re pretty good because you’ve managed to avoid temptation up till now – but how much of that is due to one of those three things not being there? Maybe you had the desire to succumb to temptation, but no opportunity. If everything had come together, maybe you wouldn’t have been so strong and would have fallen as David did?
I am quite a practical person, so naturally I then went on to think about, OK then, how can I guard myself against falling if one day they all three do coincide? The Bible says that with the temptation ‘He will also make a way of escape’ (1 Cor 10:13)
Here are some thoughts on how we can prepare ourselves to meet that evil day when it comes, by dealing with each of those three things in turn and making sure we are armed!
- Make a habit of desiring to do the will of God rather than your own desires. ‘Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.’ (1 Peter 4:1-2)
- Stay close to God – then your desires will more likely be to please Him rather than yourself. The best way of doing this is to keep up your personal devotions, spending quality time with God in prayer, and reading, meditating and applying His Word to your life.
- Saturate yourself with God’s Word. Jesus combatted every temptation that the Devil threw at Him with the Bible. It is a good idea to memorise the verses that deal with the specific temptations we are likely to face.
- Take every thought captive. ‘We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Cor 10:5)(NIV) You can do this by catching yourself in a wrong thought and replacing it with the right one. For example replacing “No one will know,” with, “God sees everything, and one day I’m going to have to stand before Him and give an account of what I have done.”
- Stay on your guard, especially in situations that could get tricky. ‘Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ (1 Corinthians 10:12)
- Put up boundaries – I always remember my dad teaching me as a teenager that I should never be alone with a man. If you are a girl and you stick to that simple rule (apart from the man you are married to, obviously!) then you most likely won’t have the opportunity problem! ‘But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.’ (Romans 13:14)
- Be aware of how things start. Affairs usually start very small, with conversation. If you are a woman and find you are having a conversation with a man who is complaining about his wife, warning sirens should go off in your head, and vice versa!
Another thing that Alistair Begg said is important to remember, is that our hearts are desperately wicked. We are saved sinners. He explained: ‘I have been saved from sin’s penalty. One day I will be saved from sin’s presence. But in the present I am being saved from sin’s power.’ We’re not there yet, so we have to be on our guard!Linking up to Inspire Me Monday, Soul Survival and The Missional Call