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The Danger in Failing to Plan

One of the most famous quotes of Benjamin Franklin is that if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. The wisdom captured by the quote is obvious. You can either be intentional about making arrangements ahead of time for the likeliest difficulties in any endeavor, or you can flail about aimlessly and desperately when you meet a challenge that could have largely been solved before you started if you had just taken some time to think it through.  Application of this wisdom is relevant in every life domain. For instance, consider the social arena for a moment. You’ve probably gone to some social event in the past where you really weren’t sure about what you were getting into. Would the participants be weird? Would the hosts talk too much? Would the other guests be able to handle your own unique awkwardness? You know you don’t want to be stuck in a gravity well of potential public humiliation chained to the inelegance of your own social clumsiness, hence you formulate a plan of escape ahead of time, so that if things don’t pan out, you can gracefully leave the event by a pre-arranged time to take care of some super important, necessary chore – like vacuuming your basement – that really must be done before the evening retires.  

But all humor aside, that same simple strategy of thinking ahead is a powerful tool in your spiritual arsenal for avoiding the lure of temptation toward sin.  But to apply that strategy requires an understanding of how weak you are when it comes to sin (Jeremiah 17:9). If you don’t realize that truth, then you won’t think to prepare a strategy for dealing with its seductive enticement. Although you can’t fully know how weak you are on your own, God can help you to see that weakness and properly orient you toward an escape (Psalm 139:23-24, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13). 

Once you’ve allowed God to search your heart, and show you those parts of you that are weak, you can then begin to develop plans that allow you to flee from temptation at the first whiff of dark allurement. Perhaps at the first baited hint, you begin to recite a memorized prayer to help recalibrate your focus. Perhaps at the first site of evil, you call a trusted and stronger friend to help bolster you against the seduction. Maybe your plan is to avoid the appearance of anything that might trigger your varied lusts so that you’re never tempted to begin with. But whatever the case may be, you won’t be able to implement a plan if you don’t have one. If you’ve ever been in a physical situation without a plan when you needed one, then you know exactly how desperate things can become. And since all plans by definition are intentional and deliberate, it is best to set out right now, today, and with the start of everyday, by spending some of your energy to draw a blueprint for dealing with an enemy who is bent on devouring, killing, stealing, and destroying whatever is good in your life (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8).

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