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Friday, February 23, 2018 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
Counter Measures

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Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:16-18).

I once heard of a man who felt as though God led him to go into topless bars and strip clubs to witness to the people there. From what I hear, people were saved as a result. While I think that is great, I must say that there are many men who would not exactly be cut out for such a job. Most men I know struggle from time to time with lust, and know that if they think they need to go into a topless club and remain sinless throughout, they might as well gouge out their eyes at the entrance.
The point is that many of us would not be called to work around an area of which we are highly susceptible to sin. In fact, we would more than likely be led to take preventative measures against the possibility of placing ourselves in such a situation. In Romans 13:14 Paul writes, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof]."
Jesus knew humanity all too well when he addressed His followers in His sermon on the mount. He knew that the closer we get to our weaknesses the more likely we are to give in to them. Matthew 5-7 deals with many temptations that threaten to make us stumble in our spiritual walk. But Jesus not only addresses the temptations and what happens if we give in to them, He also provides us with countermeasures to further distance ourselves from those temptations.
In the passage above, Jesus tells His followers that they are not to fast in a manner as to draw attention to their righteous acts, so to be seen by men and somehow considered better by their deeds. Jesus tells them to fast in secret, keeping the righteous act between the person and God. But He doesn't stop there. He instructs them to go one step further. "But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast," Jesus explains, and in so doing provides His followers with counter measures.
The pride from the praise of men is powerfully destructive to the work of the Spirit in our lives. Jesus not only wants us to avoid calling attention to our acts, He also wants us to go out of our way to ensure that nothing draws attention to our acts. So doing would ensure that what is done is done with pure motives, with absolutely no chance of us using righteous acts as a means for self-glorification.
If you have ever stood at the edge of a high cliff and looked down, (for most of us) it is not a safe feeling. One wrong move could cause you to slip and fall over. Or have you noticed that high voltage areas have fences several yards away from the danger, so that someone does not get too close and get electrocuted. God loves us and does not want us standing to close to what is dangerous for us. He wants us to remove any chance of harm. How we do it is to put up the fence several yards away from the danger. That way if you are harmed it is because you willfully jumped the fence and not because you slipped into a danger you were not aware of.
What is the sin that besets you? What is the weakness that trips you up over and over again? You know what it is, and chances are you have already been given instruction by God as to how to place a fence between you and it. If not, then pray and find out. And once you know--build the fence.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].1 Corinthians 10:13

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