Tips & Tricks
-Reese Kauffman President of CEF
I love the donut store in my town. I have been in countless donut shops in my life but there is something special about that neon light that proclaims “Hot Donuts Now” in bright red. What can be better than a fresh, crispy donut and a cup of steaming coffee on a rainy day? The problem is I am told donuts do not qualify as a healthy food. Rather, they are filled with fat and sugar and have no real nutritional value.
There are a lot of things that seem good but are just plain bad for us. We call the desire for those things temptation.
The Truth about Temptations
Many people believe temptations are tests from God. The Scriptures clearly state otherwise. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13). God’s very nature is holy. There is nothing in Him or about Him that could tempt us or prompt us to do wrong. The sin that tempts us is absolutely abhorrent to God. The source of our temptations is not God but our own evil desires.
Through the pull of our sinful natures and the tricks of the enemy, the sinful things that tempt us look wonderful to us. If only we could see them through God’s eyes. We are not tempted to eat a can of filthy worms. But somehow we look at the can of worms and see warm donuts! We may know that ultimately they are not good for us, but we think, Surely I can get away with at least a small indulgence. We can’t hold back from diving in and enjoying what looks so good. If we could see the repulsiveness of the sin we would not be attracted to it. But there is something in our hearts that baits us.
The book of Mark teaches us that it is not what is outside of a man that comes in and makes him unclean; it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean (Mark 7:15). There are pressures and influences all around us that can work to our detriment but God tells us that the greatest problem is the wickedness of our hearts. If our own evil desires did not provide a fertile place for the seed of temptation to grow, the temptation would not even be an issue.
The Way Out
Not only does God not tempt us but He also tells us that in the midst of temptation He will provide a way of escape.
I can picture God yelling to me from the side while I’m getting ready to dig into the can of worms, “Hey, Reese, over here! This is the way out; leave that nasty stuff behind and follow Me!” I reply, “Give me a minute here, God, I’m eating my donut!” Then I actually turn my back on God and return to the temptation that looks so appealing at that moment. I have the opportunity to choose the way of escape that God provided for me or go back to sin.
Once I decide to give in to temptation the choice is over. I cannot choose my consequences. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal.6:7-8). While God is ready to forgive us when we fail, we often have to bear the pain that follows transgression. Too often it is only when we experience pain that we see the repulsiveness of what had looked so appealing.
Through His Word God has equipped us with the tools we need to face and overcome temptation. His instruction makes it possible for us to see the temptation as God sees it. Through His Spirit He alerts us to worms that appear as enticing as donuts!
Be diligent to search the Word of God and walk in His Spirit today.
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