This Way to Temptation

There is a familiar story of man with an expanding waistline who finally decides to do something about his weight. He loved to have a glazed donut every morning on his way to work so engaging the fight with his extra pounds head on, he decided to change his route to work so he would no longer pass his favorite doughnut shop. He was so committed to this fight to lose weight that he told his coworkers of his stand against the lure of doughnuts. However, not long after sharing this in the office, he arrived at work one morning with a very large big box of doughnuts. When his surprised coworkers inquired what was going on, he said, “These are no ordinary doughnuts. They’re from the Lord.” “What in the world are you talking about?” they asked. The man replied, “It’s quite simple. Today on my way into the office, I accidentally drove by my favorite doughnut shop and saw all those glazed doughnuts calling my name from the window. I knew I had to pray for deliverance and strength, so I said, ‘Lord, if you want me to have one of these delicious doughnuts, you are going to have to give me a parking space right in front of the doughnut shop. If this happens I know that you want me to have some doughnuts.’ And sure enough, after only half a dozen trips around the block, there was a parking place right in front of the doughnut shop!”

Although this may be a funny story, it does sadly point to a severe matter of not being serious about our own temptation. In our never-ending struggle against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness we tend to fight with little mittens instead of boxing gloves. Our resolve to do right while fighting wrong often has the consistency of what some would consider a chocolate mousse dessert. While pudding may be great to have after a wonderful meal, soft is no way to describe the steadfastness of a Christian when it comes to temptation.  Instead of taking cover, instead of finding God’s way of escape, we seem to constantly put ourselves knowingly and shamelessly in the line of fire, notice (1 Cor. 10:13) – “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”. Like Samson who foolishly fell asleep in the lap of Delilah, we often expose ourselves to unnecessary spiritual danger (Judges 16:18-20). This is what one would consider temptation within temptation, and that temptation is to test God. Jesus taught us in His own temptation of this temptation to test God (Matt. 4:5-7). In refusing to leap off the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus recognized not only that satan was twisting the Scripture from Psalm 91:11-12, but, also, that God is not committed to saving us from foolish actions. We test God when we are not sincere in our attempts to obey His Word. We test God when we knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, and expect God to rescue us.

We cannot pray to God to deliver us from evil while at the same time leading ourselves and continuing into temptation (Matt 6:13). We cannot claim the promises of God while acting disobediently (Deut. 6:16-17). Placing oneself in the way of sin is a matter of tempting God, and delighting satan. God comes to those who flee from sin into His arms (Gen. 39:12, 21, 23; 1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 6:11)!

For those who truly desire not to tolerate sin and test God through all your foolishness you must not continue to sit peering through the window of ill-advised opportunities, nor carelessly circle the block to find the door leading to temptation!

God’s Peace!

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