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Turn Away

In our new house we have a bench/cupboard in front of a window that faces the street. Our dog, Lola, likes to lay on that bench/cupboard, look out the window, and bark at things that go by. Sometimes it is just a few "woofs". Sometimes it is an annoying series of barks. Many times she is barking at the same things outside the window she has barked at before. You would think she would figure out that barking at things outside the window doesn’t accomplish anything. I guess it is something she just can’t resist doing. The other night she was doing a particularly annoying series of barks. I scolded her, she stopped barking, and then she surprised me. She got up, turned around, and lay down facing away from the window.

It made me think. How many times do we look out at the world and are tempted to bark about what we see. How many times are we tripped up by the same types of temptations? 2 Peter 2:22 says, " Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

The simple solution to being tripped up by the same type of temptations (or any temptations) is to turn our backs to them. I believe it was Billy Graham that said, "You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” We cannot escape temptation. The devil keeps trying to trip us up with constant temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. Hebrews 4:15 talking about Jesus said, [He] “has been tempted in every way, just as we are. But he did not sin.” It is not a sin to be tempted. Sin happens when we give in to temptation; when we “let the birds build a nest in our hair.” If we give into temptation and sin, 1 John 2:1-2 gives us this good news, “My dear children, I’m writing this to you so that you will not sin. But suppose someone does sin. Then we have a friend who speaks to the Father for us. He is Jesus Christ, the Blameless One. 2 He gave his life to pay for our sins. But he not only paid for our sins. He also paid for the sins of the whole world.” So, if we find ourselves in sin we simply repent. Repenting simply means to turn away from our sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out. Then you will be able to deal with it.” One way out is to turn our back to the temptation; to focus our attention away from the temptation. If the temptation is particularly strong, it is best to focus our attention on Jesus. For me, sometimes the best way to do that is through thinking of the words to a favorite Christian song or hymn. If I am alone, I often sing the song out loud. I find that to be particularly helpful.

So, the next time you are tempted remember my dog Lola, and just turn away from it.

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"Jesus replied, '"Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."'" Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

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