Do You Have a Spiritual Escape Plan?
Published 2:13 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022
While visiting hospitals, places of business, and motels, I have noticed that in each of them, in some prominent place, there is placed an escape plan in case of disaster. In those plans there are simple instructions concerning what to do in an emergency and a diagram pointing out escape exits. Those plans are not drawn up during the emergency, but in advance to serve as life-saving preparations if needed.
During these early days of another new year many people are making preparations and plans of various sorts, perhaps setting goals pertaining to health, finances, and other things that they hope to achieve this year. In the midst of making our plans, we need to make spiritual plans as well, and included in those spiritual plans we need to plan and prepare for how we will overcome the temptations to sin. We cannot afford to wait until we are in the heat of temptation to overcome it; we have to work on our escape plan ahead of time in order to come through victoriously.
Although the topic of sin might not get the attention it once did, it is nonetheless real and must be dealt with by those who sincerely want to please God. Pastor Rick Warren rightly wrote in one of his books that sin is “habit forming”. He went on to declare that “The more we do it, the easier it gets. If you’ve ever tried to break an addiction, maintain a diet, keep a New Year’s resolution, or change your life by willpower alone, you know how frustrating that is.” Indeed, to overcome the temptation to sin we must have a spiritual escape plan and we must make such plans before we need them. We can find encouragement in 1 Corinthians 10:13 as we are assured that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (New International Version).
A Biblical character that surely had a well developed spiritual escape plan was a young man in the Old Testament named Joseph. He was sold by his brothers and became enslaved by the Egyptians. He was soon serving in a high position that put him in contact with some powerful Egyptian leaders. In that setting, he was faced with one of the strongest temptations that could come against a young man: “And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (Genesis 39:7,10). Under all the pressure launched against him, Joseph remained true to God and refused the sinful advances. He surely had his spiritual escape plan in place ahead of time and put it into practice when temptation came against him.
There is much to be learned from Joseph’s account. One is that he valued his spiritual integrity; his relationship with God was of greater value to him than any momentary pleasure. He also refused to compromise. He did not try to rationalize the situation or make excuses about accepting the sinful invitations. Instead, he kept his heart in the right place as he presented a powerful question to his tempter: “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
Escape plans in buildings have saved lives. Spiritual escape plans have saved souls from giving in to sin. God provides a way out in our times of temptation and it is our responsibility to make plans ahead of time that includes maintaining our spiritual integrity and leaving no room for compromise. And when tempted to sin, we should always ask ourselves Joseph’s question: How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?