By Patrick Hawthorne
Arrrrrrggggg!! Temptations! Just when I think I’m free of one temptation the devil throws another one at me. It’s like a never ending cycle.
Yep! I admit it. I’m constantly being tempted in one form or another. And, truth be known, so are you if you are a Christian. How do I know? Because you are breathing.
Being tempted is not a sin. I know this because Jesus was tempted in every manner just like us but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). And, because He was tempted, He knows exactly what we are going through and how to help us avoid certain pit falls…with the emphasis on avoidance.
Let me illustrate with a story I once heard. In the story, a couple of men were wasting time at the country store before heading off to work. As typical, their talk centered on weather, politics, and sports. Off in a corner sat an old pig farmer. Occasionally he would add to the conversation but for the most part was intent on just listening.
Eventually the conversation turned to a racy movie that had just been released. One of the men, a Christian, stated he really wanted to see the movie because he heard the scenery was phenomenal. According to the man, he was strong enough to not be swayed by the sexual content nor the harsh language. Having heard that, the farmer cleared his throat, causing all to turn his way.
“Well son,” the farmer drawled, “Yesterday I ate cornbread for supper. It sure was good too. Today, the left over cornbread is in my slop bucket. It still looks good enough to eat, but I ain’t diving in after it. I know what else is in that slop bucket.”
In a simple and profound way, the farmer was stressing that the best way to not be affected by the garbage associated with what was in the bucket was to avoid it all together. In the same way, the best way for a Christian to not have to deal with being tempted is to also avoid those things that will cause them to fall.
If you are on a diet, don’t tempt yourself by perusing the cookie isle; completely avoid it. “RUN from them cookies!” In the same manner, if you have an Achilles heel that seems to keep dragging you down, learn the triggers and set your mind to avoid them, even if it means not hanging around certain people with the same issues.
But, what if you fail and succumb to the temptation? Hebrews 4:16 lets us know that we can run to God’s throne of grace that we may obtain mercy for our failures and find grace to help in time of need. That is outstanding news. This is not giving us a license to do wrong, but to help us when we do fail. Be blessed.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 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 10:12-13 NKJV)