“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” Rom 6:21 NIV
Everything I am ashamed of in my life today started with a seemingly harmless temptation. I had a choice. I indulged. I rode the temporary waves of unfulfilling bliss and crashed into the shores of shame, more than once.
There are no benefits from the things I am now ashamed of. Sin produces nothing but death. Funny how it doesn’t smell like death in the beginning.
Temptation is a flame. It’s bright, gets our attention and rouses our curiosity. It illuminates everything around it, enables us to see things once hidden in the dark. It flickers and dances as it consumes the oxygen around it, the very air we breathe. It’s warm. IT BURNS.
Giving it attention fuels wonder until it consumes our focus. Before even drawing near to the flame it has already accomplished its goal of distracting us from the One and Only, Light of the World. The more the temptation is played out in our minds the closer we are to full indulgence. The harder we try to snuff out the flame the more demanding our desires become.
Are you exhausted with temptation like me? Do these words sound familiar? “That’s it. I want off this ride. I won’t go near the water. I’ll avoid all temptation, rebuild my pride and never fail like that again.” Impossible. Everything we attempt in our own strength is impossible to sustain.
Do you want to hide from life to avoid failure? Hiding from life is just another temptation, surprisingly embraced by some religions. That’s not what Jesus did with his time on this earth. He went fearlessly into the harshest places and boldly into the temple. He was tempted in every way and remained pure. He was 100% God and 100% man. We are 100% human and 100% forgiven when we lay our shame at the foot of the cross where he paid the price for our sins, past, present and future. He warns us “in this life you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Admittedly it’s difficult to be of good cheer in facing this life when I have so much experience with failure. I have failed more tests of temptation than I have overcome. How can I change the score?
Learn to recognize temptation and decide in advance how you will respond.
1. No one will find out.
2. I won’t fully indulge.
3. My situation is unique.
4. This won’t hurt anyone else.
5. It’s socially acceptable.
6. I’ll try this only once.
1. Pray against it in advance. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
2. Decide in advance how you will respond. Play out that response in your mind. Rehearse it until it becomes a natural response under pressure.
3. Feel in advance what you would feel if the whole world knew.
4. Give the job of snuffing out the flame to the Light of the World. God is able to cure you of backsliding. Eze 37:23
Temptation is a spark that ignites the greatest setbacks in life. Choose to blow it out or fuel it.
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?
What temptation haunts you the most?
Tell me how you will respond next time.
In His Unfailing Love,