“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12 KJV)
Ok, I admit I need help! Chocolate donuts with my coffee in the morning is about as good as it comes. The combination of flavors tickles my taste buds. But, tell me, why is it that the things which bring us so much pleasure are so bad for us? Obviously, there's something wrong with me. Normal women don't indulge in such fattening, artery-clogging fancies in the morning. And, it's not like I do this every morning, but when a chocolate donut graces my kitchen counter, it calls out to me, "Come and dine!" I'm powerless to resist.
The Bibles tells me to "resist the chocolate donut and he'll flee" [TJV-The Jan Version], but have you ever seen a donut flee. I mean, does it suddenly grow little legs and scamper off into some hidden place where it won't be a temptation to me? Surely, the little round fellow would leave a trail of chocolate, I'd simply follow it to its hiding place, consume it, and that would be the end of it. Actually, the thrill of the hunt may make the prize even sweeter, so wouldn't it be better just to eat it before it gets even sweeter? After all, it's packed full of sugar and calories without the added sweet thrill of victory!
In all seriousness, I rarely indulge but when I do, I live with regrets. I know I've opened the door to guilt and shame because I've allowed myself to yield to temptation. Actually, the chocolate donut is a silly example of how we allow sinful thoughts to lead to sinful actions. Our eyes fix on the forbidden fruit, we cannot resist, we make excuses and justify our sin, and we partake only to find ourselves plagued with guilt and shame after the fact.
James 4:7-8 officially says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (NIV) We have a remedy for temptation that's been tried and proven over and over and over throughout the centuries. The power is not in resisting temptation; rather, the power is in submitting ourselves to God.
When we position ourselves near to God with submitted hearts, we find strength to resist temptation, even if it's a luscious chocolate donut with morning coffee. James tells us if we come near to God, He will come near to us. We have to make the first move toward Him to find that place of strength in the face of such great temptations.
Although my taste buds may disagree, there's nothing sweeter and more satisfying than being close to the Lord, sheltered under His wings, and infused with power to resist temptation. So, today I'll let those little chocolate donuts sit there on the counter ... I've found the place of true guilt-free pleasure and shame-free satisfaction in Christ.
Tomorrow, well, Lord help me stay strong!
© Jan Ross 2008
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