Playing with Matches?

ezgif.com-resizeCommon sense tells us not to play with matches. Most of us develop a healthy respect for fire at a young age. You only need to be burned once to learn not to get too close to an open flame. As the old saying goes, if you play with fire, you are going to get burned (cf. Proverbs 6:27).

Needlessly exposing yourself to the occasion of sin (i.e. that circumstance, place, or person which is likely to tempt you to commit sin) is a lot like playing with matches or pouring gasoline on a fire.  Nothing good will come of it. Thomas Brooks offers some words of wisdom regarding such things:

“He that adventures upon the occasions of sin is as he that would quench the fire with oil, which is fuel to maintain it, and increase it.” (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, p.68)

So if you are struggling with a particular sin, ask yourself this question: Are you unnecessarily exposing yourself to the occasion of that sin? If so, you are (to use Brooks’s words), actually giving your sins “fuel” to maintain them and increase them! It is not without good reason that Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, not only to ask for forgiveness (Matthew 6:12), but also to ask that we not be led into temptation (Matthew 6:13). That request is basically concerned with the occasion of sin.

If you are not paying attention to the occasions of sin in your life, you may very well be pouring gasoline on the fire. And if that is the case, is it really any wonder that the fire is not quenched, but rather increased?

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