I discovered there isn’t time to ponder your reaction when propositioned by a prostitute. Your first response is your response. It happened to me in a Russian hotel.
(Photo: St. Basils Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. By Soerfm. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
I went with some missionaries to Moscow to help train national pastors. On our first morning, I headed to the hotel lobby to meet our team. Stepping out of the elevator, I scanned the lobby for others in our group. I saw no one I knew.
A small group of ladies at the bar sat and chatted with each other. All of them, that is, except one. This one very attractive woman was smiling and staring—straight at me.
As our eyes met, I suddenly remembered someone told me that prostitutes sat in the bar, looking for customers. This woman kept smiling and then leaned forward—and a literal chill ran up my back. I can still feel it. I froze.
At that moment, I heard three very distinctive words in my head.
“My son, run!”
Only three words. But they were pregnant with meaning. Those three words came from two verses I had learned years earlier.
“My son” came from the book of Proverbs, which speaks to “my son” 23 times. But I knew which of those verses God meant for me when I heard, “my son”:
MY SON . . . Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. —Proverbs 6:20, 25–26
The word, “run!” jerked my mind to the other side of the Bible, where Paul warned the Corinthians:
FLEE from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. —1 Corinthians 6:18
This all happened in about two seconds, as I heard, “My son, run!”
As this woman smiled at me, my eyes widened, and I backed up like a rodeo horse, without even turning around, right into an open elevator—and the doors closed in front of my eyes!
(Photo: By Another Believer. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Have you ever almost stepped out into a busy intersection and gotten run over? That’s how I felt at that moment. My heart was racing like a captured bird. It scared me to death.
Unmasking the Destruction of Temptation
Very often, evil will hide behind something beautiful and even pleasurable. That’s why God’s Word unmasks the deception: “Do not desire her beauty in your heart” (Proverbs 6:25; cf. 2 Cor. 11:14).
In addition to meditating on Scripture, I have found it helpful to ponder great statements derived from biblical principles. John Owen made just such a statement in his helpful book, Mortification of Sin (p. 55). Read his words carefully:
Rise mightily against the first actings of thy distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, ‘Thus far it shall go and no farther.’ If it have allowance for one step it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel—if it once break out, it will have its course. Its not acting is easier to be compassed than its bounding. —John Owen
Give Your Mind Something for God to Point To
As much as I wish I could say my response to the Russian prostitute represented some incredible strength or super-spirituality, the fact is God brought those words to my mind—along with an understanding of the verses they represented.
I simply had put the truth in my mind years earlier, and the Spirit of God pointed me to the truth in the moment I needed it. (As well as to the elevator.)
Tell me what you think: What helps you in those moments when you need help? To leave a comment, just click here.