What is your biggest temptation? Think about it for a minute. Is it spreading gossip like a CNN reporter? Is it spending time with someone other than your spouse? How about eating so much that a small family in Mexico could live off your leftovers? Is it drinking too much or listening to songs with a funky beat but lyrics that would make Miley Cyrus blush?
OK, now that you have your biggest temptation in view, ask yourself this question: What did I do the last time the enemy brought that temptation to me looking like a filet mignon on a pretty silver platter? Did I give in or resist?
And why can’t we resist temptation? Because we try to do it all on our own. Mind over matter. Willpower. Focus. We try and break the cycle of sin using the psycho-babble-buzz-word of the day.
But Pastor Chris Hodges gave me something to really think about concerning temptation in the first message to the LIFE small groups. He said, “Temptation isn’t a test of your self-control. Temptation is a test of your relationship.”
That statement hit me square between the eyes. I felt like the Wile E. Coyote when a 500 pound weight from the ACME company is dropped on top of his head.
That simple quote has made so much difference in the way I look at temptation. Instead of saying, “I can do this. I can stop this,” I say, “Jesus I love you more than _____________, and we can overcome this together.” The temptation seems to dissolve into a fine mist, carried away by the Holy Spirit. Temptation just doesn’t carry the same power it once carried when I pray about it and declare my love for Jesus.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I used that verse in a post not too long ago, but it bears repeating. It is one of the most powerful verses I know that you can invoke in all types of stressful situations or powerful temptations. There’s no quick fix to overcoming temptation, and the enemy will serve it up to you over and over and over. But take heart – Jesus has overcome the world. And with that same power you can overcome your greatest temptation with Jesus by your side.