The Point of Purity Podcast

Episode #146 - no Fishing Allowed

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Episode #146 - "No Fishing Allowed"   


Everyone struggles with temptation; it’s just a fact of life. Let’s face it, temptation to sin is all around us. Just as a fisherman uses a specific lure to capture a fish, so Satan lures us away from the path God wants us to take. So, what is the lure that draws you? James says it’s your own evil desires. It’s King Me sitting on the throne of your heart that always leads you into trouble.

Welcome to the Point of Purity Podcast! I’m your host Steve Etner – author, National Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry and this is Episode #146. In this episode we continue our journey through chapter 7 of my book entitled “Are You a Super Man? Becoming God’s Man of Steel.” This week’s episode is entitled “No Fishing Allowed!”

When our oldest son was around 5 years old, I remember a day when he came running into the house with a spot on his arm that was bleeding. After taking a damp paper towel to it, gently cleaning off the blood, I noticed a small, open wound. What had been a simple mosquito bite was now a bloody hole. My son had scratched it so much that he literally ripped away the skin.

Seizing the opportunity to teach my boy a valuable lesson, I asked him why he dug at the mosquito bite? “Because it was itchy,” came his reply. “Didn’t Mommy and I both tell you to leave it alone?” I asked. My son slowly nodded his head in agreement. I gave him a moment and then I asked, “So why did you scratch it?” I could see him trying to keep back the tears welling up in his eyes, finally he whimpered, “Because it felt good.”

I totally understood where he was coming from. I have been bitten by a mosquito many times over the years, and I understand the overwhelming desire to scratch the itch and make it “feel good” and I told him so. Then I asked, “Does it feel good now?” “No.”

Here’s the thing about a mosquito bite. The more you scratch at it, the more it itches. The more you scratch at it, the bigger it gets. The more you scratch at it, the more irritated it becomes and eventually it turns into an open, bleeding wound. So, if you don’t want an open bleeding wound, what should you do? Answer: “Leave it alone!”

Now think of your temptation to sin as a mosquito bite. We are under the false impression that the driving need is to scratch the itch, to give-in to the temptation. But we would be wrong. We have been deceived. The actual “need” is to have the itch go away.

Why do you sin? Seriously, now, why do you sin? Simply put, we give in to sin because we like its effects. The more you play around with temptation, the more it itches for attention. So, you scratch at it and it feels good. The more you play around with temptation, the bigger it gets and the more your flesh wants the forbidden pleasure. So, you scratch some more, and it feels good.

Eventually, if you scratch the itch long enough and hard enough you will sin. You will create a spiritual wound that hurts. I submit: The solution to not irritating that spiritual mosquito bite is to stop scratching the itch.

OK – with that in mind, I’d like to take a moment here and read to you a short story I wrote in Chapter 7 of my book “Are You a Super Man? Becoming God’s Man of Steel.” And I quote:

“Peter the Perch was not just any perch; he was a black perch. A week ago, he measured 14 inches and weighed in at a whopping three pounds! He was definitely on the fast track to being the most important perch in the lake—or so he thought.

“Today was the big day. You see, today Peter was going to venture away from the safety of his family’s Lily Pad Farm and go into the dark zone, the deep waters—the place where the big fish played. He was tired of always being “safe.” Life awaited him out there in the darkness beyond those boring lily pads. Ignoring the warnings of danger and foolhardiness from his friends, Peter swam away, fully confident in his ability to handle on his own whatever life might throw at him.

“So focused was he on proving himself to be a grown-up perch, he hardly noticed how quickly he was leaving the security of the lily pads and the protection of his friends behind. Suddenly, out of the corner of his left eye he saw something strange appear from above. He watched it slowly float down, resting only a few meters away. Curiosity got the better of him and he chose to swim away from his intended destination, just for a moment, just to check it out. Hey, it looked interesting. What harm could there possibly be in a short detour?

“As Peter got closer, he noticed that this new, intriguing wonder was moving. That was unexpected. Instinct began to kick in, and he slowed his approach. Cautiously drawing nearer, he slowly swam around and around this strange object. It looked harmless enough. It wasn’t trying to hurt him in any way. So, he gently bumped it, nudging it ever so slightly. Nothing happened. That was a good sign.

“As is the way of fish (since they don’t have hands like we do), to discover what this new and strange thing was, Peter opened his mouth and sucked it in, spitting it back out immediately. Now that tasted interesting. The synapses in his tiny little brain were firing rapidly. This was definitely worth exploring a little bit more!

“He sucked it in again, letting it sit on his tongue for a moment longer than before. He liked it! But it would be foolish to just take it and run before being totally certain it was safe. So he sucked it in, spit it out. Sucked it in, held it, then spit it out. Nothing happened. What amazing fortune had come his way!

“Looking around to see if anyone else was watching, Peter made the split-second decision to suck it in one last time and speed off with his new-found prize before anyone else was the wiser. Poor Peter the perch didn’t make it.” End of story, end of quote.

Here’s my point: Everyone struggles with temptation; it’s just a fact of life. Whether it’s fighting the urge to eat that second piece of cake, fudge a little on your tax return, lie to your spouse about where you were and what you were doing, steal a lustful glance at that person on the beach, or not tell your boss the whole story, temptation to sin is all around us.

Many times, along with the temptation comes the desire to blame someone or something else. “Well,” we argue, “if my boss weren’t so demanding …” “If my spouse would give me a little bit of slack …” “If that person didn’t dress so provocatively …” Our tendency is to feel that we have no option, that God has somehow put us in this situation.

In the book of James, we read:

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15

Focus for a moment on the words “dragged away.” When I think of someone being “dragged away,” I get the impression that they’re being kidnapped—taken, kicking and screaming, against their will. But that is not what this phrase means here. James is not describing something that happens to you while you are unaware or powerless to stop it. This doesn’t happen against your will.

James uses a fishing term that refers to being lured away from a place of safety. Just as the fisherman used a specific lure to capture Peter the Perch, so Satan lures us away from the path God wants us to take. So, what is the lure that draws us? James says it’s our own evil desires.

In other words, there is a lust or craving that you have for a particular type of sinful pleasure, and you allow yourself to think about how to satisfy it. It begins as a tickle in the back of your mind. You think about it, considering it, weighing out the pros and cons of such a decision—the risks vs. the temporary pleasure it promises.

Then, as that thought becomes stronger, it creates within you an intense desire to put that thought into action. Like Peter the Perch, you cautiously play around with it for a while. When nothing “bad” happens, you selfishly suck it in and try to speed off without getting caught.

When you do, WHAM!

Why do we fool around with sin? Why do we allow our minds to play around with it? Why do we let temptation entice us and divert our attention away from our relationship with God?

Over the next couple of minutes, I want to read Scripture to you. I ask that you please listen closely, listen intently, listen with an open heart to what God wants to tell you from these verses.

  • “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” (James 1:14, 21 NLT)
  • “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT)
  • “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” (1 Peter 2:11 NLT)
  • “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)
  • “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

OK. Let’s hit the pause button until next week’s episode as we continue our journey through my book “Are You a Super Man? Becoming God’s Man of Steel.” If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about The Pure Man Ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ".

And if you have not yet subscribed to this Point of Purity Podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!

So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.

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Please understand that your involvement in this program does not provide any guarantee on the part of Steve Etner, The Purity Coach or The Pure Man Ministry. In other words, we are coming alongside of you for the purpose of coaching you toward accountability and purity. I am not a professional counselor and I cannot guarantee you specified results. I am, however, a man who has been where you are and has seen God work in my life in a mighty way. This program is what changed me. And God has used this program to impact the hearts of countless men across the globe!

I'm here to encourage you, to challenge you, to pray with you, and to share with you what God has taught me. I look forward to coming alongside of you in this journey!