Jan
12

Tempted by Randy Rowley 12/13/10 ©

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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 thick.  I put corn at both spots.

I was getting sleepier by the second when suddenly, my stupor was broken by Ron Denison telling me a buck was heading my way on my two-way radio.  Ron and his son, Jake, were hunting southeast from me, so I knew the buck would come 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 I’d 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’d enter the property I was hunting and quickly meet his demise.  If he jumped to the right, he’d 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’ve smelled me, as he quickly made a U-turn and high-tailed it back the way he’d come.

After the hunt was over, we compared notes.  The first hunter to encounter the buck was my son, Ryan.  The buck came to the corn by my pop-up blind 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 Jake were set up on the ground in heavy woods about 100 yards beyond the buck.  If Justin had taken the shot, he’d have shot towards them.  He slowly moved his shotgun to the left, hoping the buck would move forward a few yards and he’d be presented with a safe shot, but the buck saw his movement and bounded away.

I was next on the buck’s tour.  After leaving 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 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’ve shot and claimed their watch was off if a game warden challenged them.  Some would’ve shot if they’d been in Justin’s shoes.  Quite a few would’ve shot if they’d been in my shoes.  They would’ve shot the buck on the neighbor’s property, thrown him over the fence, and claimed to have shot him on their property.  Several would’ve shot if they’d 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 we’ll surely face.  We don’t have a clue regarding how to avoid and handle them.  We don’t have a plan and are oblivious we’ll fail if we fail to plan.  Fortunately, the Bible includes instructions and principles on avoiding and dealing with temptations when avoiding them is impossible.

There are millions of “what will I do if” possibilities every day.  Frankly, we don’t have the time or energy to decide how to respond to each scenario.  But we can determine we’ll practice Biblical principles, and by so doing, we’ll respond correctly.  To practice Biblical principles, we must 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 an 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 don’t realize when we break man’s laws, we’re not rebelling against man but instead 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.”  When we’re tempted to break God’s and man’s laws, our plan must be to obey unless one of man’s laws would cause us to disobey God.

Most people say they’ll comply with major laws.  But what about minor laws?  Our God-given nature is to stretch ourselves – to attempt to exceed our limits.  But for some 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 without permission to look for a deer you shot that hopped his fence?
  • Fished in a no-fishing zone?
  • Shot your limit of dove in the morning and then hunted dove again in the afternoon?
  • Shot a deer under the antler restrictions for the county where you hunted, but recorded on the tag 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 change 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 recounts 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. (See 2 Samuel chapter 11.)  After these acts, his life fell into chaos, ultimately resulting in the deaths of two of his sons.

The Bible also contains many instructions on how to not succumb to temptation, including:

  • 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 must ask ourselves if we’re being tempted, like Ryan, Justin, Jake, and I were on that morning hunt.  If we determine our plan regarding temptations and put it into practice, it’ll become second nature for us to avoid them and, if that’s not possible, respond to them successfully.

Categories : Devotionals

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