One of the noted publishers of Great Britain tells the story of how he came as a youth from Scotland to take a job in London.
One of the first companions that he fell in with took him one night to a house of shame; but as soon as he realized the nature of the place, without a moment's hesitation, he fled from it.
To that quick & immediate decision he attributed his subsequent life of success & of honor.
When Paul shook the viper off his arm he shook it off into the fire. He did not shake it off upon the ground, where it might strike him again. He shook it off into the flame. That particular viper would never again menace the life of Paul, or the life of any other man.
To resist a temptation half-heartedly, to say “No” with a certain tone of reservation in our minds, as if we might give it consideration tomorrow, is to make sure that temptation will return & return stronger than it was before.
You spare your temptation today, shake it off to the ground, instead of into the fire, where it will be reduced to ashes & it will come back to hiss & to strike tomorrow.
Mark 14:38 (NIV): Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”