Scripture: And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Genesis 13:10-12 ESV
Observation: As the story of Abraham progresses, we read of his return from Egypt (where he had sought relief from famine) to Canaan. Traveling with a large entourage of family and servants, including Lot’s clan, strife ensued between Abraham’s and his nephew’s herders. So Abraham proposed that they go their separate ways and granted Lot the first choice of the vast fertile land before them. Lot, seeing the abundant supply of water in the Jordan Valley, staked his claim (leaving his servants in the valley to herd sheep) and then settled in the town of Sodom (the decadent playhouse of biblical times).
Little did Lot know that he had placed himself in the firing line of tribal warfare among the hill and valley kings. The victors captured Lot, his family, and his herds as part of their spoils of war. When word reached Abraham, he led 318 of his trained servants into battle to rescue Lot’s family and their worldly goods. The Lord graciously granted the victory, and Abraham successfully extricated Lot’s family and possessions. Still slow to learn, Lot returned to Sodom and would later encounter even greater heartbreaking (a story for further reflection in a future Daily Focus).
Takeaway: Often, what is most eye appealing, most alluring, is more likely to cause us more harm than good. Indeed, in the Fall in the Garden of Eden, Eve found the forbidden fruit “a delight to the eyes” (3:6). And King David gazed upon the naked form of Bathsheba and succumbed to temptation. The list goes on and on—in Scripture and our own lives. So how do we resist? Here are a few safeguards that help:
- Pray: nothing moves without earnest prayer. If we seek God from a place of godly regret (not merely trying to fix things), his Holy Spirit will guide us to higher ground in due time (it’s a process of victories and setbacks).
- Close the portals: ruthlessly eliminate the objects of desire—install IP blocking software, delete social media apps, sell “those things” that own us.
- Confess your struggles: confide in trusted believers who will check in on you and hold you accountable—speaking your temptations out loud can disempower them, and knowing that someone will check in on you can be a deterrent in itself.
- Relocate and replace: We have to fill the void (both mental and physical spaces) with godly and constructive thoughts processes and activities.
- Seek understanding: Learn about your family history (genetic predispositions), your personality type (its strengths and weaknesses), and your environmental upbringing—how it shaped your destructive coping mechanisms.
- Forgive: forgive yourself, forgive those who failed you, and seek forgiveness from those you have hurt.
The underlying process of resisting eye-appealing temptations requires humility and a teachable spirit. But most importantly, we need to grow in our love for our beautiful Savior—the only eye-appealing object of our affections that will never lead us astray.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, who is our counselor and guide. In your mercy, would you help us submit to him in resisting eye-appealing temptations that would deter us from possessing all that is good and holy? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling