Wisdom for the Ages: Don’t Consent to Temptation. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, February 6, 2018
“My child, if sinners try to entice you, do not consent! If they say,’Come with us! We will lie in wait to shed blood; we will ambush an innocent person capriciously. We will swallow them alive like Sheol, those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit. We will seize all kinds of precious wealth; we will fill our houses with plunder. Join with us! We will all share equally in what we steal.’ My child, do not go down their way, withhold yourself from their path; for they are eager to inflict harm, and they hasten to shed blood.” (Proverbs 1:10–16, NET).
Yield not to temptation. Yielding to temptation is sin. As simple as this sounds, so many of us get trapped by temptation many times per day, especially when peer pressure is involved. Oh, did you think peer pressure was only for tweens? Unfortunately, we are all susceptible to it when we are not careful. Whether it be a “Keeping up with the Joneses mentality,” or bowing under the pressure of our friend’s suggestions, if we don’t stay prayed up, we will succumb; it’s just a matter of when.
Fortunately for us, the old “Devil made me do it” concept is not true. If the devil cannot make us sin, then neither can lowly human beings. Sin requires our consent. The wiseman cautions us not to give our consent. The rest of the details of the text are of no consequence provided we get the principle sorted out in our lives.
How do we refrain from consenting to do evil? Interestingly, consent is a mind activity. Before our bodies make one move into the direction of any sin, our minds will have already jumped headlong into the sinful pit. Paul gave sage advice on this subject when He said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, NET).
Temptations that Work Overtly and Covertly
Isn’t this wonderful? God gave us the blueprint for engaging holy thoughts and remaining connected to Him. This will stem the tide of consent to do evil; no matter what the evil may be.
It’s also wonderful because it stems precursors to evil. For example, in our theme text, the sinners entice folks to ambush, kill, and steal. Are there precursors to such activity? Yes. We are what we eat, and thus those who imbibe murderous, thieving, and ambush oriented movies, television shows, music, or reading, it’s just a matter of time before that sort of activity festers into outward actions.
The outward actions may be overt or covert. Covert actions in this realm would include character assassination, gossip, rude speech, road rage, bullying, etc. Overt actions obviously include abuses of all sorts, robbery, murder, or racism. In short, if we consent to such things mentally and intellectually by ignoring Paul’s counsel, we have already sinned in our minds as a precursor to sinning with our actions.
New Minds and Thoughts
In conclusion, the key to elevating thoughts is in our submission to God. When we submit all to Him, He gives us new minds by writing His laws in them. He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to bring every temptation and thought into captivity to the will of our loving heavenly Father.
A word to the foolish is wasteful. A word to the wise is sufficient.