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Some of us have had some very strange winters with wild temperature swings between unseasonably warm, and then sudden drops to very cold and back again. Maybe it's like that where you live. Out of those rapid changes come some less than fun driving conditions like black ice, for example. There's a snowstorm or ice storm one day, and then it's warm enough the next day to start melting much or most of that frozen stuff. Then it gets cold again at night, and what thawed during the day freezes at night, sometimes into this dark, invisible ice patch on the street - that's black ice. And invariably you turn on the traffic report and you hear about a rash of accidents often from cars or trucks speeding along at top speed down the pavement that appeared to be totally dry. Then, out of nowhere, they find themselves sliding on one of those deadly little frozen spots.
Now, a lot of good people have ended up sliding into a spiritual accident the same way - on temptation's black ice. You're speeding along, carelessly assuming that you won't crash and that's where Satan lays down a patch of his black ice - a carefully crafted opportunity to sin that totally blindsides you and suddenly, you have slidden into damage you could have never imagined.
That's why our word for today from the Word of God needs to be reinforced regularly in our minds. 1 Peter 5:8: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him." God calls us not to underestimate our enemy and his determination to devour us. We cannot take spiritual days off. We can't get spiritually lazy. No matter how smooth the sailing, how apparently safe the road, we need to always be self-controlled and alert.
1 Corinthians 10:12 warns us, "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" See, we've got a tendency to overestimate our ability to handle temptation. An "I can handle it" attitude is often the overconfidence that sets us up to be blindsided by the enemy of our soul. Overestimating ourselves, underestimating sin - that's the kind of spiritual driving that sends us into a deadly spin when we hit Satan's black ice.
Your enemy looks for a time when your resistance is down, your guard is down to bring you down. It can be right after a spiritual high when you're riding on your emotions or while you're taking time off or watching or listening to something for entertainment, when you're with friends you let your guard down with, when you're tired, when you're away from home, when you're discouraged, when you're enjoying success. It's in those vulnerable times that we must be sure that our radar is on, that we don't get spiritually careless, that we remain self-controlled and alert.
Satan exploits times when our resistance is down and he exploits the weaknesses he knows you have. Just when you least expect it, he'll give you an attractive opportunity to sin in that very area where you have struggled before. He may have left you alone in that area for a while, then suddenly, when you think you've made some real progress there he throws you a hard to resist chance to do it again. Listen to God's orders, "Resist him."
Maybe you've already fallen for some of our enemy's black ice. Now he wants to use that one failure to keep you sliding into greater damage and destruction. Don't fall for that. Make it right with Jesus and get right back on the main road. Stop the slide now.
Make sure you're letting Jesus drive you on that hazardous road ahead and don't take back the wheel when it looks like the road is totally safe. Your enemy always has places for you to slip, and Jesus will make sure you swerve to miss the black ice of sin's surprises.
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