Monday, December 3, 2018

You Won't Do It

My twelve year old son has recently been putting me to the test. Literally. He has been on a kick now for several months where he will respond to me with the phrase, "Go ahead. You won't do it." With all of the pre-teen hubris he can muster, he is nearly daily trying me to see what I will or will not do. This is generally in relation to some form of childish discipline or an attempt at false bravado. Here's an example. One day while working on his homework he made a snarky comment at me. I was unloading the dishes and jokingly shook a frying pan at him and made a comment about hitting him on the head with the pan. His response? You guessed it. He said, "Go ahead. You won't do it." I promptly took the pan and tapped him on the head with it. I tapped him hard enough to get his attention and thought I had put to bed the idea that he wanted to continue to test me. Boy was I wrong. I think I only encouraged his actions and he has regularly continued to test me with situations he doesn't think I'm willing to do. He's learned so far that dad is willing to do pretty much anything to get the better of him and to save face!

The temptations we face in life are similar to the exuberant twelve year old saying "Go ahead. You won't do it." Temptations to sin are constantly grabbing our attention and daring us to cross lines we know we shouldn't cross. At times the urge or desire to give in to those temptations is very powerful and nearly impossible to resist. We find ourselves at times giving in to a particular sin we are more vulnerable to and find ourselves looking back wishing we had only been stronger. Each of us faces different temptations in different areas of life. What is a struggle for you may not even make it on my radar and vice versa. What we do know is that Satan knows where each of us is weakest and he exploits those vulnerabilities in the hopes of tempting us into sin. When we are focused on temptations or the results of our sins, then Satan has been victorious in getting our focus away from where it should be and that is on God.

Sometimes we feel all alone in our battle with the temptations we face. But the exact opposite is true. The Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews that we don't face temptation alone. We're told that Jesus has faced temptation just like we face and He was victorious over the temptation and didn't sin. Hebrews 2:18 (NIV) says, "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Jesus understands the struggles of temptations. He understands the allure, the desire, and the draw of temptation. Because He understands those things and still didn't sin, He can help you through your struggles with temptations. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) tells us, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin." Jesus set a perfect example for us when it comes to temptation. He can empathize with us because He was tempted in every way imaginable and still didn't sin. What He showed us is that by pursuing the holy life God has called us to pursue, we can be victorious over the temptations that so often entangle us.

We don't have to live a life defeated by temptations. God wants us to live a victorious life that is beyond anything we could ever imagine (John 10:10). The next time you are struggling with some temptation, spend time in prayer seeking God's wisdom for how to deal with your struggle and seek Jesus' help since He knows what you are enduring. Be persistent in praying and be open to how God shows you to deal with the temptation. You may not like what He shows you, but you can trust that it is for your best.

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