Up Against the Ropes
No temptation has seized you except what 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. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Russell Moore writes, “Resistance to temptation means taking desire seriously. Both Jesus and Satan do.” Well, that’s interesting. Ever hear a sermon where the pastor tells you to just get over your desire? That temptation is easy to beat if you just get your act together? Those sermons encourage us to push past temptation. But, we don’t think it’s quite as simple as that sermon makes it sound. The Bible doesn’t either. Such ‘regulations’ (Colossians 2:21) are “of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23). Temptation is a big thing, and there’s no way to ‘discipline’ yourself past it. The only way past desire is through God.
Moore explains, “…desires are made to be stronger than human decisions. They are meant to show you that you are a creature and to point you to Christ. The antidote is to see where these desires point to the gospel and to cling to the mystery itself, or rather the mystery Himself.” The ongoing struggle with God and with temptation is a privilege. Honest. It helps point us to Him. And you can’t wrestle with God without coming away different – wiser, calmer, or tougher (maybe even with a limp… just ask Jacob). Wrestling with God to be free from sinful desires will change you. It will re-shape your heart and re-focus your thoughts. That is how you’ll find your way through temptation, recognizing your forgiveness, His grace, freely given, freely received, freely applied.
Heavenly Father, by Your power, Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your presence in my life and my staying focused on You, I can come through the daily temptations in life. Thank You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen