Spiritual Tug of War

Last week here in Dallas, we had an unusual occurrence.  A winter storm came through and stayed for four days, causing schools and many businesses to be closed.  Normally, we get one snow/ice day a year, but having school closed for almost a week was unheard of around these parts.  Now Dallas drivers are a special breed in normal conditions, but during this bad weather week, I noticed three basic types of drivers.  First, were the drivers (idiots) who acted as if the streets had no ice.  They barely slowed down, and tried to take the same highway overpasses as they usually would.  Those were the drivers that were shown on the nightly news, either stuck on some icy coated street or stuck in a ditch.  Then were the people that didn’t feel like it was worth it to even leave the house.  Lastly, were the drivers who stayed home on the days it was really bad, but did venture out on other days if they needed to.  They may have  had to go to work, or stop by the grocery store.  I was in the group that stayed hibernating in my house.  My car went unused from Tuesday until Saturday, until things started thawing out.  Better safe than sorry, right?

I am experiencing this kind of spiritual tug of war.  It’s the inner battle between “what I want to do” vs. “what God wants me to do”.  Ever had that game going on in your heart?  Don’t say no, because we all have; Paul dedicates several verses about it in Romans 7.  Here are a few:

“It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” (Romans 7:21-23, The Message)

Hey, at least we aren’t alone.  I was thinking that there are three ways to approach this struggle, that very much demonstrate our Dallas winter weather drivers.  One way is to barricade ourselves from anything that we feel might cause us any kind of temptation; just like the people who wouldn’t brave the storm.  But just like those people eventually had to go out, it is quite unrealistic for us to attempt this method.  I guess we could just throw caution to the wind, and tell ourselves that we are invincible.  Surely others are tempted and fall victim, but not us.  Then again, those drivers who lacked caution ended up in the ditch.  What about that last group of drivers?  They stayed home when it wasn’t wise to drive, and exercised caution when they did venture out.  This type of behavior can be applied to our lives, since we know that temptation is something that we will always have to deal with.  We don’t need to hide out and miss living life for fear of failure, but we also don’t put ourselves in compromising positions.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

So take the keys, and get behind the wheel….they do say that life is a highway.  Just don’t forget what you learned in traffic school- “Check Your Mirrors First!”

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