“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
James 1:12-15 NKJV
Battle, battle, battle is all I seem to do. From my first waking moment to the time my head hits the pillow, I battle the temptations that vie for my will. The temptations do not arrive fully formed, but as mere germs, growing and multiplying.
Like any germ, there is great potential for disruption, for illness, and suffering. In these days of COVID, we have been hurrying about sanitizing everything, wearing masks, and seeking to get ahead of all the killer cooties that are threatening us.
In the spiritual realm, we have germs that are unseen. Little reminders of our sinful past, in the form of enticements, or fond memories of the “fun” we used to have.
These germs, or temptations come in a wide variety of forms. Some are sexual, some are political, most can draw us into actions that run counter to the will of God. Many of these temptations offer the promise of expediency, immediate gratification, prompting us to meet some need as we wish.
I have to admit that I am often tempted to seek my own justice, to give those who have wronged me what they deserve. I would have to say that this is one germ that I have had to rid myself of day after day. I battle to surrender all to Jesus. For my efforts, I have seen God move in ways I could never imagine.
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Romans 12:19 NKJV
Repay He does…
One of the most insideous germs is that which inhibits one from going out an spreading the Gospel to people who are looked upon as the enemy. We can find ourselves feeling like Jonah, neglecting the Lord’s command to go to Nineveh for fear that God might actually save. I am sure that many of us go through life hoping that those we find offensive would die and go to hell. We are called to go to all the world, not some of it.
“So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
Jonah 4:2 NKJV
We are living on a fragmented planet with peoples in opposition, each vying for ascendency, for the top spot in the culture.
We who believe must remember that we are here to deliver the message that saves, and not sit under big green plants waiting for our enemies to be destroyed. I pray that the Lord send worms to destroy our shelters, that we like Jonah see that God is one who is sovereign as the Son beats down on our heads.
The world we are living is dynamic and everchanging. Many of the conflicts in this present time are ongoing, with offenses being delivered at a rapid pace. It is hard to love in the face of hate, but we are called to do just that. We need the power of God to resist the temptation to strike back, to neglect the heart of God.
Like any temptation we may face, the Lord provides strength for us to endure and escape.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
I Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, whatever your temptation, seek the power of the Holy Spirit to escape the snare of the evil one. His has a multipronged attack, coming at us from every angle. It is only through the power of our omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God that we can have victory. Jesus has provided access to the perfect things of God, that the things of this world fade in comparison.
Let us seek the sanitizing power of the blood of Jesus to wipe out those germs before they infect and afflict our souls. Sin is a global pandemic and Jesus is the cure.
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