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July 25, 2005

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Jaws and the Tough Situations of Life
By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted July 25, 2005

Did you know that if you put a piece of fish in your hand and attempt to feed a shark there is a chance that shark might bite you? While I don’t have a degree in marine biology, I do believe that was one of those lessons I learned in kindergarten. I watched in amazement as a man put on a mesh suit, went into the water, waved a piece of fish at a shark, and waited for the shark to attack his arm. Of all the jobs one can have in life, that’s one I don’t think would suit my particular intelligence level.

We have become fascinated with sharks even before the recent attacks off the gulf coast. Our fascination with these creatures was definitely heightened with the release of the movie Jaws. There is one scene in the movie that renewed my faith in the overall ignorance of man. Here is a creature of mammoth proportions that has towed a boat and eaten several people. And yet, this little man decides to get in a shark cage in an attempt to harpoon Jaws. You know what happened, the power of the shark destroys the cage and the little man narrowly escapes with his life.

Hellooo! I saw that coming, didn’t you? If something that powerful is coming my way, there had better be more than a few metal bars between me and it. I suggest in this situation remaining on dry land might be the best course of action. It is doubtful that a shark of that size could attack me in—let’s say Colorado!

For many of us the best defense and offense in life is distance. Removing ourselves from any situation that might make us uncomfortable or present the wrong type of temptations can be the best way to avoid a great deal of trouble. We have been taught the best way to combat the temptations in our lives is to stand tall and get into the shark cage with harpoon in hand. After all, isn’t distancing ourselves from a temptation the same as running away. Only weak people and cowards run, right?

If that is the case, then the Bible is wrong and God Himself is wrong. Look at I Corinthians 6: 18, II Timothy 2:22, I Corinthians 10:14, and I Timothy 6:11. All of these verses have one thing in common. We are told to “flee” certain temptations. Why, because when the temptation is stronger than we are it is foolish to attempt to stand against it so that we might prove our spiritual strength. The word “flee” can mean only one thing: RUN, RUN, RUN!

The most common reason I fall to temptation is that I spend too much time resisting and not enough time fleeing. One of the most misunderstood verses in all of the Bible deals with this very situation. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Notice nothing in this verse leads us to believe that we will not be strongly tempted. It does tell us that God is with us and will give us a way to escape. (You don’t escape if you don’t flee.)

The way we escape is vital to success. We escape into His presence. That is God’s way of providing an escape. He gives us a place where we can truly distance ourselves from the temptation: His presence. And by fleeing into His presence, we draw closer to Him, are actually resisting the temptation with His power, and causing the temptation to flee from us. (James 4:7)

Temptation loves it when I stand against it. When I think I am able to jump into the cage with my handy harpoon and do battle. That strategy never works. The “shark” is too big and its teeth are too sharp. I have too many scars that prove this to be true. If I will only learn that the best way to resist is to flee to One who is infinitely wiser and stronger than I will ever hope to be then victory becomes a possibility. And as I draw closer, I will be surrounded by His power, wisdom, and security instead of a few “metal bars’ of my own design.

The very “shark” that continually destroys your cages is having fun making you suffer. Stop fighting and start fleeing to the presence of the Lord. Temptation is not temptation if you pay it no attention. Fighting takes too much focused attention on the problem. Flee into the presence of the Lord and let Him stand with you. Let the Lord focus on the temptation and you focus on Him. Join the rest of us who are coming out of the cage and onto dry land.

Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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