Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Temptation, One of Three

”No temptation has seized you except that which 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.”
~1Corinthians 10:13

Wherever you are in life—young, old, comfortable, struggling, confident or beaten down--our bad habits, failures, and otherwise disgusting features (you know, the stuff you wish you wouldn’t do but do it anyway), those New Year’s resolutions that keep coming back year after year are what many people refuse to call sin. But that is what they are. “SIN” left secular society’s vocabulary a while back and has been largely absent in the Christian-Left churches. Sin is behavior against ourselves, our families, friends, or peers, who are forced to put up with it. And did I mention, God! Jesus went so far as to say, “Love your enemies”, yet some of us treat our foe better than kin. Someone just the other day was asking, “What was your New Year resolution?” I’m thankful she didn’t ask me…I didn’t bother making one. Have I lost hope? More like I’ve gained realism. My struggles are ongoing and purely tiresome. Did you know, as a Christian, repentance is to be a daily episode? Try it. Try repeating that same failure; how many ways CAN we say we’re sorry? “I blew it again.” “I’m sorry God; I can’t seem to control myself.” “Forgive me Lord; I know…I did it again!” Eventually this reverts to self-loathing which is why so many think Christianity is bad, bad, bad! Why shouldn’t the conclusion be more like, “WE ARE BAD, BAD, BAD!” Reality check: we ARE so, so pathetic! And when there are little successes, we DARE not rest on our laurels.

Bear with me while I muddle through the futility. There is a point. Jesus began His ministry in the depths of satanic deception—temptation. Jesus had the expectations living right too, except His were a “do or everybody dies, forever” situation. No pressure. The story of forty days in the wilderness, fasting and solitude, is indispensable. Jesus, through His struggle, demonstrated how it’s done! First off, there IS a difference ‘tween He and we. Jesus surely recognized who He was dealing with right off. We are rarely so blessed, or wise. I do not know if Satan snarled and sneered at his greatest ever threat to his victory, but our temptations so often sound very friendly and often well-meaning. But who knows—maybe some awesomely charming person walked up to Jesus, sat down beside Him and said, “Hey man, you look hungry. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just turn these rocks into bread?” And Jesus, if only a tiny bit off guard, would say, “Well, yea, funny you should say that cause I CAN. Wanna see?”

But Jesus was hooked up to His Father, intensely aware of His need of Him—drenched in the Words that had been written. Christ, the Rock, WAS the Bread. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy—referring to the rich history of Israel and Israel’s God. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
You see, we don’t rest on our own laurels—we rest on what God has done, on what God has said…we rest on Him.

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