BILLY GRAHAM

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - This col­umn is based on the words and writ­ings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.

Q: I strug­gle with peer pres­sure and of­ten make de­ci­sions and do things that I know are not the best, but I suc­cumb to in­flu­ences by oth­ers, I sup­pose, to be liked and ac­cepted. Is this temp­ta­tion? – P.I.

A: An im­por­tant les­son can be learned by ex­per­i­ment­ing with mag­nets. Chil­dren of­ten do this, plac­ing two mag­nets a dis­tance apart and then mov­ing just one to­ward the other. One mag­net will draw the other closer un­til they ad­here, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to pull them apart.

Temp­ta­tion is some­thing like that, and it of­ten be­gins with giv­ing in to peer pres­sure. The more we dwell on what we are be­ing tempted to do, the more likely it is we will suc­cumb. Giv­ing into temp­ta­tion brings about sin.

The Bi­ble says, “No temp­ta­tion has overtaken you ex­cept such as is com­mon to man; but God is faith­ful, who will not al­low you to be tempted be­yond what you are able, but with the temp­ta­tion will also make the way of es­cape” (1 Corinthi­ans 10:13).

This is what God prom­ises. Now what is our re­spon­si­bil­ity? We must not toy with such things in our minds. The Bi­ble says to flee – get as far away from it as pos­si­ble.

Joseph is an ex­am­ple. When he was tempted by his mas­ter’s wife, he said, “How then can I do this great wicked­ness, and sin against God?” (Ge­n­e­sis 39:9).

This is the key. Joseph rec­og­nized the temp­ta­tion and fled.

When we sin we not only hurt our­selves and oth­ers, but most im­por­tantly we sin against God. If we are pray­ing not to en­ter into temp­ta­tion (Luke 22:40), the Lord will en­able us to rec­og­nize it and flee.

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