WELL, LET ME START OUT by saying that when I found out that the theme for the month of March was temptations, I immediately felt inadequate to write about it. Temptation is something that every person on this planet struggles with for their entire life.
So, disclaimer! I am not perfect by any means when it comes to this topic. I am simply sharing from my heart on some of the things that have helped me through my toughest temptations.
So why are Christians faced with temptations? The best illustration I can think of is one I heard several years ago. As Christians, we are part of the ultimate dodgeball game. We are with the Lord on one side of the line, and on the other side is the devil. If you have watched as many dodgeball games as I have, you know it’s a pretty high intensity game depending who you are playing with. Your only true hope is having that one strong player.
In this ultimate dodgeball game, we are playing against the most intense player of all, the devil. But, we are also playing with the best player ever, God. So you may be wondering where I am going with this illustration, but just bear with me. If you are familiar with the rules of dodgeball, you know that it is not beneficial to hit your own players. You throw the ball as hard as possible at the people on the other team. So if the devil is throwing temptations your way, you know you are on the right team. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). We should really be relieved when temptations come our way, because it just means we are still on the right path. The devil has not got us out of this game.
In my Bible reading yesterday I came across this scripture. “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The three keywords I want to pull from this Scripture are “yet without sin.” I want to make an important point here. Temptation in and of itself is not sin. The sin comes in when we give into the temptations.
I can’t help but think that God came to the earth as a human to be tempted simply to drive a very important message to modern day Christians. Jesus was a human and DID NOT SIN. Do you understand the point I am trying to make here? If Jesus was here on earth as a human and was tempted on all points as we are, any temptation you may be facing, even now, can be overcome. He can give you the strength to stand firmly against temptation.
If the devil is throwing temptations your way, you know you are on the right team.
But even though God gives us grace for these temptations, that does not mean they won’t be hard to deal with. Another rule of dodge ball is face-shots don’t count, but those can hurt the worst sometimes. Just like those face-shots, our hardest temptations can make us want to sit down and cry. But, we have a promise in Scripture that it is so worth it to stay in the game. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12). Remember that it is face-shot and you are still in the game.
Dodgeball is a war sometimes. So let me give you two tips to add to your inventory. The first weapon we have is scripture. Whether it be the verses I have used in this article or ones you find on your own, there are so many great verses on temptation in God’s word. Engrave these verses in your memory, write them down, and hang them in a place where you will see them often. Recite these verses back to yourself constantly when those inevitable temptations come your way.
The second weapon is prayer. This is always a good tool to have in any situation you face. When you are going through a temptation, ask the Lord to help you bear it. He will never give us more than we can handle. He always gives us a way to escape temptation.
Some days will be hard, and you may even get hit by that dodgeball. But, there is a promise in God’s word about that as well. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
So this week, remember that you can and will be tempted, but the sin only comes when you give into it. Remember to utilize the weapons of scripture and prayer as often as you need them. Finally if you do get hit by the ball, be quick to go to the Lord and ask His forgiveness. All of us will fail sometimes, I know I do, but God is so full of grace and mercy for each and every one of us. He loved us so much He sent His Son to die.
Keep dodging and have the best Monday ever!