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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: 'Get the jump' on sin and prepare with God's word
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    Clothing stores normally display new fashions well ahead of the season. Stores here in Statesboro have had spring fashions out for several weeks, even though spring is several weeks away. An iron-clad rule for merchandisers is to "get the jump” on the buying seasons. In a spiritual context, Christians should be interested in "getting the jump" on sin, being prepared for temptation when it comes. This can be done if we'll apply some basic principles.
    First, know the word of God as it applies to your life. We can look to the example of Jesus, who overcame temptation in the flesh (See Matthew 4:1-11). Of course, we shouldn’t equate knowledge of the word with obedience: “…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Temptation – in every form – is the common experience of men and women everywhere (1 Corinthians 10:13), and the word of God can be applied to every situation we face in life.
    Second, be on the alert against the devil.  Satan is cunning and crafty; he uses every means possible to overcome us. The apostle Peter urged Christians, "Be self-controlled and alert" (1 Peter 5:8). No Christian can afford an attitude of "spiritual self-satisfaction." The new disciple is especially vulnerable here, much like a new baby. His spiritual family — the church — must help strengthen him by constant association and encouragement. (Congregations probably fall down in this regard as much as any.) As we continue to grow in things of the Spirit, the attraction of the flesh will weaken. But there will never be a time when we can relax our vigilance. We’ll always be faced with the allure of the world.
    Finally, have faith in God. Paul made the encouraging promise that "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even in the presence of temptation, God will not allow us to be put into an "impossible" situation. Our faith in the Lord's care gives us confidence to face each day's trials.
    James, a brother of the Lord, wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
    We can "get the jump" on sin if we give attention to these important keys to faithfulness.

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