He knows it's one hour until supper. He knows he'll be offered one for dessert in just a short while. He knows he was told not to touch them. But....they're warm and gooey. They smell soooooooo good. No one is watching. No one will know. They are calling to him. How could a seven year old boy resist?
Let's be real. How could a 27 year old mom resist??
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
When our kids do it, we're pretty quick to recognize sin for what it is. When we do it, we're pretty quick to....nothing. Let me clarify: It is not a sin to have a messy bedroom! It is not a sin to play DrawSomething! But there is a point when compromising your priority list robs you of your best self and robs our families of their best growth.
When you sit down to complete a project and you desire to stay focused but you can't resist checking facebook first, you've given in to temptation. Again, there is no sin in checking facebook. But when we've read a 1000 status updates and failed to give God our own status update, we've compromised somewhere along the way.
"Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell." - Anonymous
The enemy is crafty. He rarely tempts us to do wrong things; he tempts us to shift our point of view. The woman who leaves her family for another man wasn't just tempted to commit adultery. She was tempted to shift her point of view, to relax her commitment, to soften her definition of sin, to turn her focus from loving others to loving self. It starts small. Small compromises. Small questions over whether or not something could even be categorized as "sin".
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
- Matthew 6:13
How do we recognize when it's a harmless case of distraction or procrastination...part of our personality, or a slippery slope toward compromise? You already know. You know it when you find yourself getting indignant at the very idea, the insulting idea, that you aren't doing the best you can do. There is no squirming of guilt or a need to defend when it's a harmless case. When in doubt, back away from the questionable activity. Replace it with more time with God. Spend time reading scripture, wearing the breastplate of righteousness.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
- Proverbs 4:23
Guard your heart. To those of you who are well-balanced and never struggled with setting priorities, this probably sounds pretty silly. Guard your heart against....facebook? No, not facebook, against losing perspective. It becomes a sin when it means stealing time that belongs to our families. And trust me, some of us struggle with vigilance in this area. And if you struggle with this, you already know that beating yourself up really doesn't help much. Recognize the temptation to be distracted. Recognize when it crosses over to the point of sin. Recognize that it is an area in which you are weak. You need to take it to God and let Him be strong where you are weak. Let Him fight your battle.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:7
And for goodness sake, stop beating yourself up! We serve a gracious God who knows our struggles and desires to rescue us!
"...bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist." -C.S. Lewis
Rather than struggle against our nature,
#1 Take it to God
#2 Remember the beauty of your calling. What has God called you to? What is the ideal picture of your day for you? What memories of you do you want your loved ones to look back on? Keep in mind the beautiful picture God has created just for your life and strive towards it.
Time with God is really the only thing that can change your habits. Galatians 5:16-17 tells us that if you are guided by the Spirit, He's not going to lead you to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit.
1 Cor 10:13 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.
Luke 9:23 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Here is a quick read of a sermon on this topic if you'd like to study more deeply.
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