“. . . So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ . . .” (Php 1:10)
There isn’t anything that is much more irritating. You place your foot firmly on the ground, and—OUCH! There it is! That sharp point pushed up into your foot by the weight of your body—just in the tenderest spot!
This is exactly what happened to me this morning. I had just unclasp my dog’s leash so she could run when I felt it working its way down the back of my shoe and sliding under my heel until it was firmly pressed into my skin. I knew I had a decision to make: I could stop there in the middle of the road, pull off my shoe, and remove the stone; or I could ignore the whole thing and continue on my walk! The decision might seem a simple one to most people: You remove the stone! But believe it or not, I struggled with it for a whole two seconds before deciding that I would—ignore it! After all, I’m tough enough to put up with a little pain! Besides, how much harm can a little pebble do, anyway?
So I ignored it. For a whole ten steps. And with each step, the pebble worked its sharpest corner deeper and deeper into my flesh. I may be a slow learner, but once I learn my lesson, I act quickly. Standing on one foot, I whipped off the other shoe and shook out the offending stone!
A mere irritation? Perhaps. But what a lesson about temptation! It’s all around us. All the time. And it can “slip” into our lives just as easily as that stone slipped into my shoe. We can’t change the fact that temptation will always try to get us. What we CAN change is what we do about it. The choice is simple: Do we ignore it? Hope it will go away on its own? Declare ourselves “tough” enough to withstand it by our own willpower? Or do we remove it by applying the Blood of Jesus?
The choice should be a simple one to make, but so often we choose to “leave the stone in the shoe”! We choose to ignore it, to withstand it by our own willpower, to tell ourselves it will go away on its own. But temptation doesn’t go away on its own. And if we contemplate it, it will give way to sin—James 1:14-15: “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”!
Instead, we need to “remove the stone”. We need to ask God to help us identify temptation the moment it enters our minds; to take “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5-6) Then we can claim victory over it in Jesus’ name, by the power of His Blood. It’s amazing how fast that “stone” falls away!
Don’t “limp” through life, my friend, trying to ignore the stone in your shoe. Instead, ask Jesus to get rid of it for you! Then you will walk strong and upright until the day of Christ!