Prevention or Rescue?
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt
Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. —Hebrews 12:1b (NLT)
Some years ago, news reports appeared about Aron Ralston, a young man from Colorado who had been hiking somewhere in a remote area of Utah wilderness. During what was intended to be a simple day hike, well within Ralston’s capabilities, he accidentally dislodged a massive boulder that pinned his arm and trapped him for five days. Having run out of food and water, and without any reasonable hope of rescue, Ralston amputated his own arm with a pocketknife he had with him. By cutting off his own arm, he saved his life. Various media reports hailed Ralston’s courage. Some even called him a hero.
Ralston’s courage is undeniable. I don’t think many people would have the courage to cut off their own arm. But, it’s also undeniable that this young man made a basic wilderness hiking error by not telling anyone where he was going. A simple measure of prevention could have saved him a lot of grief and quite possibly his arm.
This story provides a couple of reminders for our own spiritual journeys. The Bible is quite clear in its instruction: we are to “throw off the sin that so easily entangles us.” We are all susceptible to sin. It takes God’s transforming work in our lives to beat destructive and sinful habits. Yet, it also takes courage on our part—courage to admit our sin—and courage to repent and change our thoughts and behaviors.
Beyond this, however, we are also to take preventative measures. We are to do our best not to allow ourselves to become enslaved to sin in the first place. Simple, preventative measures like reading God’s word, prayer, fellowship with other believers and being accountable to one another are key in our pursuit of living holy lives.
I am always encouraged by stories of fellow Christ-followers who have courageously experienced victories over sin in their lives. Yet, even more heartening to me are the examples of others who take sin prevention seriously and are victorious over the many temptations they face each day.
Today, take up the challenge of using preventative measures against temptation and sin in your life. If you are struggling with a sinful habit, have the courage to act by cutting away whatever it is that holds you back from having a better relationship with Jesus.
- Are you struggling with overcoming a sinful habit? What actions can you take to help you “cut away” whatever it is that is trapping you?
- Find a Bible verse (or verses) that can serve as a “preventative measure” against sin in your life today.