I was listening to a Christian radio station on the way into work the other morning and the radio announcers were talking about temptation. It is obvious that we face temptation in today’s society. Things like affairs and addictions are destroying marriages and families every day and we need to fight against those things of this world.
One of the DJ’s made a comment about how we need to avoid those places that might tempt us the most. So his example was that if someone has a problem with alcohol they should avoid places that serve alcohol. If someone has a problem with gambling they should avoid places that encourage gambling etc.
While this is a nice thought at the outset in reality it is impractical. I agree that we are surrounded by temptation and it is WELL within our reach - each and every day. But to set our minds to just avoiding those places that could be tempting is not enough. Someone that truly suffers from alcoholism can do their best to avoid bars etc, but at some point they are going to find themselves in a place that alcohol is served. What then? If they don’t have the necessary “resolve” alone to keep them from drinking they will be in trouble. And of course Satan is going to be working overtime in a situation such as that.
A better way, in my opinion, to approach the things that tempt us is to be earnestly seeking God’s will for our lives at ALL times. If my heart and mind is focused on the good and perfect will of God and if I am seeking His guidance and help in all things, then I will be able to be faced with those temptations and hold fast to the truth of His Word. Jesus didn’t avoid temptations - He was surrounded by them and at one point for 40 days straight. But because of His relationship with His Father he was able to walk through that fire. We can do the same.
But I also need to remember that it isn’t what I do in these situations but what God does through me that is important. The minute that I believe that I have cleared the hurdle, that I have taken control of the situation is the moment that I am at my weakest. I must at all times remember that my life is God’s life, my successes are His successes, my accomplishments are His accomplishments. He deserves the glory when I prevail in a situation of temptation - it isn’t what I do but what He does. When I have that mindset, allowing God to take the credit in all things that I am drawn in a closer relationship with the one true God. Isn’t that what we are seeking as followers - to be in that right relationship with Him? But to do that I must completly surrender ALL and that includes my right to take credit for things that I do well!
For some of us it might seem easier to put ourselves in a bubble to keep out the influence of wordly sin in our lives. But as I heard another say – we are all sinners and we would just be stuck in a bubble with our sinful selves. How do we then protect ourselves?
Taking up a path of righteousness and walking in the light of the Spirit is not always an “easy” thing to do. But it has become evident to me that it is the ONLY thing to do. If I want to become more like Christ I can’t spend my life trying to avoid temptations. I must instead develop a relationship with the Father, always seeking for the knowledge of His will in my life and asking that He give me the power to carry out that will.
Then when I see results, and if I follow this path I most surley will, I MUST give the credit where credit is due. Praise God that He loves me enough to forgive me when I fail, and desires to guide me down the right path and is with me along the way.