The Nets of Temptation (2)
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
I have taught at Hope School for many years, perhaps for more years than I would care to admit. I have seen a lot of things and learned many things over these years. One thing I have learned is that we are not always aware of how Satan fights. He does not fight fair. No, I do not mean that if we fight with Satan, he will bite, scratch, kick and attack you only when your back is turned. Sometimes we seem to have the idea that when Satan would come to tempt us, it would be something really big, maybe something we had never seen before. We could easily recognize this temptation and flee. No problem! Satan does not fight like that. Here are some ways I have never seen Satan tempt the students of Hope School.
Many people have come here over the years. Some are strangers who need directions because they are lost. Never have they driven up in a Lamborghini sports car, and left it running in front of school before a gathering of junior high boys to see if they would steal it. They know if they took that fancy sports car, that would be stealing.
In our country today, we know that Satan tempts many people with the sin of adultery. He does this quite often with what can be seen on television and in movies. Still, in all my years here, I have never seen some Hollywood actress traipsing down the hallway to see how many boys she could get to follow her. No handsome actor has walked our halls to sweep some girls off their feet with his charm. I thought about asking some of the older boys or girls for some names of some current Hollywood stars so I would seem to be up to date and current with the times, but I was afraid I would get a little more help than I needed because, perhaps, some of us know more about Hollywood than we really should.
No college or NBA coach has ever parked his limo by the basketball court to check out the talent, then offer a big time scholarship or mega bucks to one of our students to play for them. They would demand that we play on Sunday and we easily recognize that this is not the way to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Unfortunately, I have seen some fights on the playground but there have been only a handful. There have even been some punches thrown. Still, a student has never attempted to pound another into a bloody pulp. Nobody has tried to hurt someone, on purpose, with a violent swing of a bat or hockey stick. No fight has ever ended in a serious injury. Even though some students have become very angry, no fight has ever gone into the type of violence where police have to be called to make arrests.
Students do not always think that the treatment, assignment or punishment given them by their teachers is fair. That seems to come with the territory when one has a position of authority over children. Still, I have not witnessed a student giving a protest to a teacher in a way which was filled with disrespectful name calling and finger pointing.
No, Satan does not tempt us here in such ways. He is much sneakier than that. The nets he uses are not like the drift nets used by fisherman in the oceans. These drift nets can be many miles long. We can see them easily and avoid them. Satan uses very tiny nets to snare us. If he can get us tangled in enough tiny nets, we will no longer be living as the friends of God. Our school will then be Christian only in the name on the building. We will no longer know in our hearts that God is our covenant friend.
I mentioned before that no fancy sports cars have been left free for the stealing in front of school. The temptation to steal takes a different form here. Has a schoolmate ever misplaced something, a toy, school stuff or some treat from a lunch maybe, and then have you taken it to be your own? Have you ever taken something little, a pencil or a pen, then broken the point to get a laugh? That is stealing even if the item is not worth that much money.
Remember the actors and actresses of Hollywood who never strut down our hallways? Satan tempts us with adultery in different ways here. Do we use dirty words which have hints of adultery in them to show we can be cool? Do we talk about the filth of television programs we have seen? Many of the world’s programs entertain through the use of adultery. Impure thoughts are adultery.
We have not had any coaches or agents come here to ask for athletic services to be given on Sunday. Yet, each Monday morning there is a lot of talk about sports events which have taken place over the weekend. (By the way, the two sermons you heard on Sunday are rarely talked about.) I am sure that not all of these sports events have taken place on Friday and Saturday. Do we really keep the Sabbath Day when it seems we cannot wait for it to be finished so that we can find out how our favourite team did?
I mentioned that I have never seen a fight where a student has become so angry that he beats somebody to a bloody pulp. The sin of murder takes a different form. Do we yell angrily with a heart full of hate at someone when they do not play the game right or measure up to our standards? Do we give “dirty looks” to a student to let them know they are not welcome? Do we pick on and tease a classmate to make sure everyone knows that we are much better than this other schoolmate? Do we spread gossip and backbite or say mean things? All these are forms of murder.
I mentioned that I have never seen a student calling a teacher name right to his or her face. Yet, what happens when we are left with our friends and the teacher is too far away to hear what we say? Is respect still shown to the teacher, or do we want to impress our friends by making nasty comments or showing disrespect in some other ways? These are also ways to break the fifth commandment.
Satan is busy spreading his thousands of nets here every day. He is waiting for you just as a hunter waits for his prey. God through Solomon tells us to watch for the nets. Even though the nets are small, they mean big trouble for our souls. If we are not alert, Satan will snare us. We will be caught in sin. When we live in sin, we will not have peace with God in Jesus Christ.
When we pay attention, we will see the temptations around us and we can avoid the net. We will be free. Do not see how close you can get to danger and not be caught. Follow Joseph’s example. When you see temptation, flee from it. Pray for God’s Spirit to show you Satan’s nets. This is very simple advice. Many in the world mock it and say it will not work. Remember, it is God who is giving this advice in the Bible. So obey God’s commandments, always. Obeying God is true freedom. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Prov. 1:17).