- 2010 19 May
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Temptation is not limited to overeating, even though this area leads to the kind of mess that shows on the outside of our bodies. Temptation can come in the form of angry words spoken in retaliation to something unkind said to us. Or it can come when we become aggravated with someone over a situation done again and again, such as not taking out the trash, or leaving clothes lying all over the house. We begin to build up a head of steam and before we know it, we have said much more than the incident deserves.
God uses every circumstance in our lives to show us that we are not strong enough to resist temptation in our own strength. Without God’s strength, we are all doomed to failure. So what is the “way out” when we are tempted? I believe that our way out of temptation comes from the Holy Spirit, Who lives inside every believer. He is the one who will help me to not overeat, retaliate with unkind words, or explode over the daily aggravations of life.
The secret, I have found, is in understanding how temptation works. Our enemy, the devil, can’t read our minds, but he definitely knows how we have responded in the past. He sets up the same scenarios and waits for us to fall back into our old patterns of behavior.
On August 24, 2008, when I decided to give God a year, I knew it would not be easy. I knew how weak I am and that I would probably have to write about my own failings as they came along so that you, the reader, might see that there is absolutely no temptation that is not common to man (or woman). I had three great weeks with the Lord before Hurricane Ike landed and destroyed our home and all our possessions. Even the week after Ike was good, because I continued to lean on God for strength. Week five was when the trouble began. We were staying at Round Top Retreat in the Texas hill country and surrounded by people who loved us. Our daughter, Lisa, and her husband, Kent, were there with us, because they had no electricity at home. Lisa cooked nutritious, healthy meals the entire time she was there.
So where did the trouble begin and how did the temptation come?
A long-time friend came to the retreat center with a group from her church. They expected eight couples, but only three were able to come because of the hurricane. My friend had cooked for weeks to have enough food for the weekend and since she had a mountain of left-over food, she brought all the food over to the house where we were staying and gave it to us. You might be thinking, “What a nice thing for them to do.” When I saw the food brought in, I knew it might be a problem for me, because along with the lunch meat and bread were cookies and all kinds of desserts.
What was my way out? Get it out of the house! Did I do that? Of course not! I remember vividly how my decline began. There were little gift bags left over that contained bite-sized candy bars. I began by eating just one candy bar out of one sack and continued until all the sacks were empty, and I had eaten my first frozen cookie! This took several days and I had not shared with one living soul what I was doing. When I ate the frozen cookie, I finally came to my senses and threw all the cookies away, along with the rest of the desserts.
I seem to keep “white knuckling” this thing called temptation and failing every time.
When weigh day came and I had gained weight, I confessed what had been going on to my FP4H Leader and started over again. I struggled for the next three months to maintain the balance I had found that first month; however, it became harder and harder to resist temptation. Could it be that I still refuse to believe I can’t do this on my own. Instead of telling God that I am powerless and must have His help, I seem to keep “white knuckling” this thing called temptation and failing every time.
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
It saddens me to say that most of the time the answer to that question is ME. To blame our enemy, the devil, is pointless. The enemy brings the temptation, but he doesn’t have the power to make us do anything. We have been given the power of choice and when we do wrong, it is because we choose to do wrong.
Our enemy, the devil, will never tempt us to do good. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to, Be self controlled and alert for your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The devil wants to keep us defeated so that we are powerless to resist his evil schemes. We must learn that without the power of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, we will never be able to resist temptation when it comes.
No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39.
Next week: Facing Ever-Present Temptation
Published April 28, 2009
Carole Lewis is the National Director of First Place 4 Health. This excerpt will be included in the upcoming release, Give God a Year, available from Regal Books in December. For more information on First Place 4 Health and Carole Lewis’ books, visit http://www.firstplace4health.com/.