Read the Directions: Do Not Feed the Bears

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41

In the movie My Little Chickadee ( ), Mae West’s character, Flower Belle Lee, says, “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”  While humorous, this is also an accurate commentary on the human condition that perplexes us all – the sinful desires that reside within us and the temptation that works steadily to draw them out.

We try to go camping a few times each year and many of the places we go have warnings.  One of the most common instructions gives details on securing your food so bears will stay away from the campsite.  In other words, don’t feed the bears.  It is based on the maxim that if you want to stay out of trouble, don’t invite trouble.  We are very careful to secure our food properly when we are camping, but I know from personal experience, I still feed the spiritual bears in my life.

This impresses on me the importance of overcoming temptation.  I want to go farther than hiding the food from the bears, I want to find out what is attracting the bears and get rid of it altogether.  I want to be shaped, molded and grown in such a way that the devil and the world have no room to work with in my heart and mind.  I want to be drawn toward God, not driven by sinful desire.  I have to stop feeding the bears.

Sin is a bear…a very hungry bear.  The more you have what it wants to eat, the harder the struggle to resist.  Starve the bear.  Watch and pray.  Keep an eye on what it is in you that the bears want and pray that God will help you throw it out.  On the other hand, we can pray for the strength of David who killed lions and bears with his own hands with God’s help.  Either way the bear loses and God is glorified.

Lord, help me be a bear killer.  I want to hunger for the food at Your table, filled and satisfied with Your goodness and glory. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.  Amen.