"One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, 'Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?'" 2 Samuel 11:2-3 (NIV).
"In December 1985 an enormous sinkhole swallowed a house and carport and forced the evacuation of four homes in a retirement community in Florida. The hole was about the size of a pickup truck when it was discovered. Within three hours it had grown to 30 by 40 feet and had swallowed half of a small house. Two hours later it had expanded to more than 70 feet, and the house with its carport was gone. Authorities were grateful that it finally stopped growing without doing even more damage.
"David discovered that sin is like an ever-expanding sinkhole. As he was walking on the flat roof of his palace, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. Instead of turning away, he stared longingly at her. At this point the sinkhole was small but expanding. When he inquired about who she was, the hole grew larger. And finally, when he sent for her, he soon found himself and those around him swallowed up. What started out as only a look ended in tragedy for all involved." 2
Many people, like David, find themselves falling into the sinkhole of temptation because they leave the door open for temptation to enter.
Temptation works the same for all of us. It's progressive. It can start with an innocent look, then a thought, and then if we linger longer on the look, the thought progresses to desire, then to becoming blind to reality and fooling ourselves into rationalizing that it won't hurt, and then to yielding. Following this pathway can quickly lead one into the sinkhole of sin as well as despair.
To overcome temptation we need to realize how vulnerable we are to the pull that temptation has on us. When temptation knocks on your door, ask Jesus to answer the door. Also, as God's Word says, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV). And again, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour".1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7 (NIV).
I also find that when tempting thoughts knock on "the door of my mind," I realize that I need to take control of my thinking and pray, "Help, Jesus, help," and keep saying, "Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord of my life," until the chain of tempting thoughts is broken.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, may I never forget that I, like David, am just as open to temptation as he was. Please help me to call on you in the hour or even the moment of temptation, and give me the strength to resist the devil so that he will flee from me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
2. "Lessons on Living," Back To the Bible. www.backtothebible.org.