Tempted by Randy Rowley 12/13/10 ©


Nothing was moving on the property near Round Rock where two friends, two relatives, and I were hunting on the last Saturday morning in November.  As the property was small, we were all hunting with shotguns.  I was hunting from a ladder stand along a fence by the neighbor’s property.  I only had about a 20-yard shot to my left and another 20-yard shot to my right because the trees were so thick.  I put piles of corn on both spots.

I was getting sleepier by the second when suddenly, my stupor was broken by Ron Denison telling me that a buck was heading my way on my two-way radio.  Ron was hunting southeast from me, so I knew that the buck would be coming in from my right.  I didn’t have to wait long.

Suddenly, a big buck stepped out from the trees.  His rack had at least a 15” inside spread, by far the biggest that I had seen on this property.  He was on the neighbor’s side of the fence perpendicular to the fence line where I was hunting.  He stood there for a second and got ready to jump.  If he jumped to the left, he would enter the property where I was hunting and would quickly meet his demise.  If he jumped to the right, he would enter the other neighbor’s property and extend his life.

He jumped to the right and walked out into an opening.  He put his head back and inhaled deeply.  He must have smelled me, as he quickly made a U-turn and high tailed it back the way that he had come.

After the hunt was over, we compared notes.  The first hunter to encounter that buck that morning was my son, Ryan.  He came to the corn by my pop-up blind that Ryan was hunting from at 6:32 AM.  But, as legal shooting time wasn’t until 6:37 AM, Ryan waited.  The buck only ate for about a minute.  He then ran over to a neighbor’s property and hung out there for about 30 minutes.

The next hunter to encounter him was my son-in-law, Justin Painter, who was in a ground blind.  When Justin saw the buck, he was just ten yards to his right, but Ron and his son, Jake, were set up on the ground in heavy woods about 100 yards beyond the buck.  If Justin had taken the shot, he would have shot towards them.  He slowly moved his shotgun to the left, hoping that the buck would move forward a few yards and he would have a safe shot, but the buck saw his movement and bounded away.

I was next on the buck’s tour.  After he left me, he headed back towards Justin but took a hard left at the fence juncture and headed towards Ron and Jake.  It looked like Jake would get a shot, but the buck suddenly turned to the left when he was 60 yards away, jumped over to the neighbor’s property, and disappeared.

That buck was the luckiest that I’ve encountered – escaping death four times in 45 minutes.

I was very proud of Ryan, Justin, Jake, and me for not taking those shots.  When presented with a big buck five minutes early as Ryan was, many hunters would have pulled the trigger and claimed that their watch was off if a game warden challenged them.  Some would have shot if they were in Justin’s situation.  Quite a few would have pulled the trigger if they had been in my shoes.  They would have shot the buck on the neighbor’s property, thrown him over the fence, and claimed to have shot him on their property.  Several would have shot if they had been in Jake’s shoes, even though the buck was out of effective buckshot range.  We were tempted but passed the test.

Sadly, many of us Christians do not prepare for the temptations that we will surely face.  We don’t have a clue regarding how to avoid and handle them.  We don’t have a plan and are oblivious to the fact that we will fail if we fail to plan.  Fortunately, the Bible includes instructions and principles on avoiding and dealing with temptations when avoiding them is impossible.

Every day there are millions of “what will I do if” possibilities.  Frankly, we don’t have the time or energy to decide how we should respond to each scenario.  But we can determine that we will practice Biblical principles, and by so doing, we will respond correctly.  To do that, we have to know what the Bible says about various topics. Here are a few examples:

  • What does the Bible say is God’s way out when we’re tempted to punch that aggressive driver who almost took our bumper off, and then we find ourselves beside him at the next stoplight? James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  Anger only breeds more anger.  It leads to bitterness and an inability to forgive.  When we’re tempted to allow our anger to spur us to sin, our plan must be to remain calm and forgive others.
  • What does the Bible say is God’s way out when we’re tempted to be sexually immoral? 1 Corinthians 6:18a says, “Flee from sexual immorality.”  When we’re tempted to be sexually immoral, our plan must be to flee from it, not fight it.
  • What does the Bible say is God’s way out when we’re tempted to break God’s and man’s laws?  Many of us do not realize that when we break man’s laws, we’re not rebelling against man but are rebelling against God.  Romans 13:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Most people say that they will comply with laws that are major felonies.  But what about less serious laws?  It is our God-given nature to stretch ourselves – to attempt to exceed our limits.  But for many of us, that includes seeing how far we can exceed minor laws as well.  Have you ever intentionally?

  • Hunted migratory birds before or after legal shooting time?
  • Went onto a neighbor’s property that had “No Trespassing” signs posted without permission to look for a deer that hopped his fence after you shot it?
  • Fished in a no-fishing zone?
  • Shot a limit of dove in the morning and then went dove hunting again in the afternoon?
  • Shot a deer under the antler restrictions for the county you were hunting in, but recorded on the tag that you shot it in another county where there are no such restrictions?
  • Tried to find just how fast you could break the speed limit and not get a ticket?
  • Coasted through a stop sign?
  • Exaggerated your deductions on your income taxes?
  • Kept the extra money that the cashier accidentally gave you?

When we encounter such temptations, our plan must be to practice honesty and obey all laws.

The Bible has many accounts of people who succumbed to temptation and the results of their sin.  The best-known example is King David, who summoned a woman to his palace, committed adultery with her, and then had her husband murdered.  After these acts, his life fell into chaos and ultimately resulted in two of his sons’ deaths.

The Bible also contains many principles on how we can keep from succumbing to temptation.  Examples include:

  • Make and keep Jesus as Lord of our lives. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” and 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.”
  • Strive to know Jesus more. Philippians 3:10a (NLT) says, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.”
  • Know God’s word and use it to avoid sin. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  The word of God was what Jesus used when Satan tempted him three times in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1–10).

Every day, we need to ask ourselves if we are being tempted, like Ryan, Justin, Jake, and I were by that buck.  If we determine what our plan will be regarding temptations and put it into practice, it will become second nature for us to avoid them and, if that is not possible, to respond to them successfully.

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