DO NOT ENTER

Proverbs 4:14-15 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”

A salt lick, a minnow, a barrel of rancid sweets, and an apple. What do these things have in common? All have been and are used today as a lure to entice prey to their doom… You say, “What of the apple?” It was used as a lure for the greatest catch in history plunging all of mankind into sin.

Some of the most epic fails that people commit started when they looked beyond the barricade; stepping over the line and going about trying something daring for a thrill; on a dare or just because it looked ‘cool’. We view these recordings of some and wonder what ever drove them to think that this was a good thing or that it would ever succeed.

Scarier yet, are those who fail to put up barricades against the very thing they know is their weakness or that to which we are most susceptible. But I find in these situations, we have two sets of rules: one for ourselves and another for everyone else. We can forgive others, but flog ourselves with guilt when we’ve already been forgiven by God Almighty. We judge harshly those who commit certain sins, but if they are found in the same bondage as we are, we are far too harsh with them and too lenient on ourselves.

Pornography flourishes because we fail to blush anymore. The allurement of the illicit excites us, lures us, tempts us and enslaves us and in the end destroys us AND those around us. As with any sin, it starts in the secrecy of our own heart. We look when we should look away. We stay when we should flee. We reach out to touch when we should recoil in disgust. We indulge when we should be fasting.

James tells us:

James 1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

This longing in our soul; these carnal desires we all have are something we cannot escape until we leave this world. The desire, in and of itself is not sinful – no, it is when we cross the line God has set that we commit sin. Thanks to Adam and Eve, we all have a nature that leans toward sin and the sinful. Satan’s allurement in the garden was not the beauty of the apple, but where it drew them from.

God sets boundaries in our life because He loves us; not because He wants to control us. He tells us that we must control, or keep that which has been given us to govern or steward.

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

When a person finds that they cannot control those desires; those lusts, a power greater than them must come. In my own life, I, through my own choices, began to drink alcohol at the very young age of 15. It started out in secret, on a dare – in a church basement of all places. But when the opportunity presented itself, I found it easier to say ‘Yes’ and not fight to push it away or remove myself from the temptation.

To the place where, I drank more and more often. I found a crowd who found those decisions and that behavior acceptable and indulged in the same. Soon, marijuana was introduced, and so many others. All this before I reached 25 years old… I knew that if I didn’t stop, I wouldn’t make it much past that age. I looked at how far I had gone and just where my life was heading and knew I had to change.

In the years that followed, I drifted in and out of that very same behavior, with similar, like-minded people and the cycle continued. Marriage, children and responsibilities came and grew. And then the accident. In a drunken state of mind, I thought it a good suggestion by my drinking buddy to see how high we could get my 1971 Mustang Fastback to fly off the ground by speeding over some railroad tracks. In the crash that followed, I nearly left a first time pregnant wife to raise my son on her own.

I truly believe it was God’s mercy that saved us that day. Six months later, I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and a new life began. But the desire for alcohol remained. My mentor showed me the verses from God’s Word against alcohol, drunkenness, partying and such. He did not mince words. He showed me that the lines God had drawn were thick, black and had consequences once crossed.

There were many lies that the devil had told me that I needed to address: I had a taste on my tongue that I felt could only be quenched with alcohol: lie number one. I also felt there was nothing that could take that taste away – I tried and failed so many times, I felt a failure – lie number two. Having tried and failed so many times, I felt I was destined to struggle the rest of my life branded and alcoholic – lie number three.

But now as a saved, child of God, things had to be different – right? But the taste remained. But God was going to show Himself to me in a very real way. I saw the verses. I knew in my heart that it was wrong – the Holy Spirit confirmed it. Here is the key to which I found victory. Repentance and release from the bondage of any sin was not immediate and I had a decision to make.

Did I want freedom from the consequences of my actions? Of course I did! Did I want to stop my drinking? If I were to be honest – Yes and no. Yes because I didn’t want the consequences. No, because I enjoyed the escape it brought; it was a method of coping with pressure, taking a break from reality for a while. The decision was this: I prayed,

“God, I see from your Word that my behavior and attitude toward my drinking and alcohol is wrong. I know that I need to stop, but You know that I have tried and failed so many times, that I cannot, in my own strength accomplish what you are asking me to do. So, when I am presented with the opportunity again, with as much as is in me, I will resist. But when my desires rise up, I am trusting Your power to come and take over and remove that which I cannot.”

It wasn’t very long at all that I was confronted with the opportunity once again. In my mind, I put up a “DO NOT ENTER” sign over the well-worn path to my drinking. I saw the warning, but the desires came just as quick as they always had. I said, “Ok God, it’s Your turn now.” and the desire subsided. I can tell you that each and every time I resisted, the desire became weaker and weaker to the place where here; 27+ years later, I have not given in to the opportunities to drink. The ‘lure’ will always be there as long as Satan is allowed to roam the earth.

But thanks be to God who giveth me the victory!

Whatever lure looks enticing enough to you and me, we must make another ‘DO NOT ENTER ‘ sign and place it over the doorway to the path to that particular sin. Whether it is internet protection and accountability; a new set of friends that provide peer pressure for good; a prayer partner, a mentor, pastor and friend to pray for deliverance and a church that supports all those who are in the bondage of crippling, addictive sins; we must all be active in either being the change agent for that one OR be the one to walk them to the place where they can get the help they need!

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