My wife has a lot of family roots in Texas so stories I hear from there usually catch my attention more than others. Here is one that I particularly enjoyed. Back in 1873 there was a group of religious folks in Fort Worth that had grown quite concerned about the evil influence that the railroad was bringing to the cities of Texas. One of the primary concerns was how this exposure to evil and corruption would affect their young people.
So, in an attempt to escape this moral debauchery they migrated south of Fort Worth and established their own little village. Within this village they established a school and called it Texas Christian University. Before long they began to advertise for others to come and live in their village and enroll their young in their school. Interestingly, they promoted the school with this unique phrase: “We are forty miles from the nearest sin”. Unfortunately, that slogan was never true- - and for good measure the people who later moved there brought their own sins with them!
In reality, there is no such thing as moving away from sin in this world. In truth, the devil lives everywhere! You can find him at work, at school, at play, at home, next door, and even at church. In fact, Paul taught us that in order to avoid the presence of sin we would have to “go out of this world” (I Corinthians 5:10). That’s a lot farther than a few miles out of town, don’t you think?
Further, Peter teaches that “your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). So, what is a person who desires to live for the Lord to do? Thankfully, Jesus himself gave us the solution to this problem by teaching us that we are “in the world” but not to be “of the world” (cf. John 17:16-18). In other words, you can’t avoid sin’s presence in life, but you can avoid its entrance into your life.
Another great passage that we need to keep close by is 1 Corinthians 10:13 which teaches: “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, that you may be able to bear it.”
Hence, while it is impossible for us to avoid exposure to sin in this world; it is possible, with God’s help, to deal with it successfully.