May 25th, 2023
“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.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
If sin only serves to expand the chasm between people and God, why continue to embrace hedonistic choices? Why has humankind repeatedly chosen to satisfy short-term pleasures in favor of long-term blessings? Because it’s fun! Even the Bible admits that sin is enjoyable for a season.
Temptation is everywhere. Incessant streams of messages seek to glamorize rebellion and to condemn authority; all for the purpose of self-gratification. Temptations range from fattening desserts to easy money, and their appeal is intensified under erroneous auspices of anonymity. If we are to succeed in leading a life that is holy and pleasing unto the Lord, we must intentionally remove ourselves from dangerous situations.
A speaker addressed a group of men at our church and delivered a very fitting illustration. If a duck is flying high above the ground, chances of being shot by hunters is negligible. The closer the duck ventures toward water, the chances of his being killed increase exponentially. As a Christian, we are commanded to “flee” from sin, not to test our spiritual resolve by attempting to resist temptation’s maximum assault. Here’s a real-life (though comparatively innocuous) example: Chewing ice causes trauma to the gums and could easily chip teeth. Nothing positive can be gained by this practice, but it could cause serious dental problems. Regardless, chewing ice has always been a natural temptation for me. Many years ago, I made the decision to only accept beverages without ice. Why? To remove the temptation.
If your usual commute leads past something which makes you stumble, change course! If a co-worker elicits an unhealthy relationship, do something drastic to change the circumstance. If your television seems to have a surreal beckoning beyond your control, it must be removed. Being tempted is not sinful; only succumbing to the temptation. Jesus Himself was tempted, but He used the power of the Word to overcome.
Matthew 6:13 recounts Jesus’ outline of a model prayer. It includes, “…and lead us not into temptation,” because He knows that we cannot withstand the seductive allure of sin without tremendous faith and foundational comprehension of Scripture. Our integrity, leadership, reputation, and witness depend on the choices that we make. Falling prey to temptation could jeopardize a lifetime of accomplishments and could destroy everything that we hold precious.
Those who passionately seek Jesus will be rewarded with finding Him
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