When I feel that craving for a snack around 8 pm just saying ‘no’ is almost useless. I keep thinking about getting something to eat. The calorie count, when I had my last meal; all the reason in the world is drowned out by the craving for a sweet treat or some chips. So, how do I defeat the lure of the craving? The best way is to get something healthy, a carrot, some fruit, even a tall glass of water can help.
We can smile about a late night snack craving, but what about more serious temptations? They are no laughing matter. Our lives can be wrecked by the lure of money, sex, pleasure, or whatever it is that promises to meet our perceived need. Temptation is almost always about meeting a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. We must have money to function in life, but if we succumb to the temptation that tells us we would finally feel fulfilled if we just grabbed more, we sin. We are made for intimacy but if we let the lure of cheap sex overtake us, we will actually be more alone after than we were at first! And so it goes.
We all deal with temptation. Jesus, the Perfect Man, was tempted! Memorize this text so that you will realize that your experience is not unique to you: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT) To be tempted reveals that we are human. There is no sin in feeling the lure of sin! But, we cannot just give in. We are called to stand, to resist evil, to be overcomers.
Ever try to conquer temptation with will-power alone?
Your experience was/is similar to my craving for night-time snacks, right? Reason, self-talk, resolutions, rubber bands on the wrist… eventually do not work anymore. That is why we need a Savior! He will forgive us, free us from shame, and change our thoughts. The Holy Spirit will come to live in us and, in Him, we find real power to become different, to see the Truth, and to understand how to meet our needs in the way God intends. Victory is ours, but it is not easy, quick, or painless!
Christians commonly think that they will find complete freedom from temptation when we reach some plateau of spirituality. Alas, it’s not to be. Temptation will change with maturity, but it stays with us, coming from different things.
Jesus met the devil in the wilderness after a long fast. He was weak in body, hungry, and exhausted. He met each offer with the truth of the Scripture. He did not rant at the devil, he did not whine about his situation. He boldly said, “It is written…” and after seeing that He was full in a way that allowed no success, we read that “the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” (Matthew 4:11, NLT) We, too, need to meet temptation, regardless if it comes from the culture that surrounds us, the appetites of our body, or the devil himself, by being filled with the Word. Don’t misunderstand this. I am not talking about taking snippets of Scripture and saying them like a slogan! We must consume the Word, study and understand it, and weave the Truth into both our conscious and unconscious thoughts.
The Psalm asks – “How can a young man keep his way pure?” And then the answer comes – “By living according to your word.” Now, note what that means. “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9-11, NIV)
Our word from the Word today are wise, encouraging words about temptation. Live them!
“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.
If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s ” (1 John 1:8-2:2, The Message)
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving;
He is with me to the end.
Jesus, what a Friend for sinners,
Jesus, Lover of my soul.
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Jesus, what a Strength in weakness,
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing;
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.
Jesus, I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His and He is mine.