For the past few Sundays, our pastor has been preaching about David’s sin with Bathsheba. This got me to thinking about the different temptations we face daily in our Christian walk. Whether or not we fall to those temptations, we face them in one form or another. Every. Single. Day.
One of the weird (and sometimes frustrating) things about temptation is that what can really bother one person may not be a real issue for another. For example, Johnny may be a poor student in school for whatever reason, and as a result may be weak in the area of being tempted to cheat. At the same time, Suzy may be a great student with no trouble learning, and with a desire to learn on her own may have no reason, or desire to cheat. Either way, the temptation can present itself. It just affects people differently.
Something that has always stuck with me was a message I heard preached by Bro. Buster Seaton, ‘Never Say Never’. I can’t remember many specifics about the message, but the idea was that we shouldn’t let our guard down on certain things that we think we have ‘handled’. In other words, if Suzy, mentioned above, happens to run into a difficult area in her schooling, she may have a greater temptation to cheat. Although she normally is a great student and learns well, that fact can cause her to lower her guard and thus weaken her defenses against that temptation. When she is presented with the more difficult subject of, say, calculus, the learning just doesn’t come as easy and she is more susceptible to that temptation.
Of course, I’m using imaginary people and made up situations. But think about it. What areas do you think you have ‘handled’? “Ah, hearing swearing doesn’t bother me. I know it’s wrong, so I’d never do that.” That was my mentality for a long time. I hear filthy language every day at work. Every once in a while, the temptation arises for me to join in the filthy conversation to ‘fit in’ a little better. I’m usually not bothered much with that temptation, though. I know that type of language is wrong, and don’t have a desire to corrupt my tongue with it. However, where I’ve noticed it becoming more of a problem is if something surprises me, or some bad situation comes up. My defenses have been weakened because I don’t count it much of a problem. So when something comes up where someone normally might let a few words fly, I find myself having to resist much harder. Words have almost slipped at times because I constantly hear them. Lately I’m making more of an effort to consciously recognize that type of language rather than passively hearing it. I find that if I make the effort to recognize it, it becomes an easier task to regard it as wrong and not allow it to remain in my thoughts, thus making it less of an issue to let something slip.
That is what works for me… The idea is that we shouldn’t let our guard down. If my method doesn’t work for you, find one that does. One thing I do know – “. . . greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4b) Keep Jesus Christ in the forefront of our thoughts and minds, and fighting temptation will be a much more victorious battle.