By Karen O’Connor:
I went on a hike in the woods this week with a group of friends. As we negotiated the trails I noticed large clumps of beautiful red leaves on scrawny twigs on either side of the paths. Some of them were so full and lush, they had spread to the trunk of a tree and were climbing to the top.
“Watch out for the poison ivy,” someone shouted. “You don’t want to mess with it, believe me.”
As I walked more carefully, it hit me that I was finding God while avoiding poison ivy. This beguiling plant reminded me of the presence of temptations in our lives. They flag our attention with their good looks and intriguing promises for pleasure and happiness—but the moment we give in to alcohol abuse or drugs or pornography or adultery, they spew their poison and we have to work hard to disentangle ourselves.
It makes more sense to stay away from such poison to start with. But when we’re feeling lonely or hurt or depressed or bored, it’s easy to leave the trail and take a chance on what appears to be harmless. So what can we do when temptations call us to the sidelines?
The Bible tells us:
We have a great high priest who has gone to live with God in heaven. He is Jesus the Son of God. So let us continue to express our faith in him. Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, he was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but he never sinned (Hebrews 4:14-15).
And now he can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because he himself suffered and was tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
Finding God while avoiding poison ivy was the best part of my hike. It brought me to my senses and reminded me to turn to God when I am tempted to stray from the path.
View this informative YouTube video on how to treat poison ivy—if you come in contact with it.
©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook, or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor