I recently read about a little plant that grows in the Australian bush country called the “sundew.” It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew.
While the Sundew looks very attractive with its harmless clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms, its leaves are deadly. It’s a carnivorous plant. And its shiny leaves are sticky. When a bug touches it, they are imprisoned. And the more they struggle to get free, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around its prey. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim.
Aren’t the temptations of the Devil a lot like that like? Attractive. Appealing. Innocent looking. But ultimately deadly when we succumb to its enticement.
The Bible provides a four-step process to help us overcome temptation.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
(1) Accept that temptation is the common experience of all people. We should not feel guilty when we are tempted. We’re all tempted to sin. Even Jesus himself was tempted directly by the Devil.
There is a commonality to our temptations. Just like the Devil tempted Adam and Eve, he tempts us with the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). Time passes, technology changes and the techniques may vary, but the basic temptations are still the same.
Greed. Gluttony. Lying. Lust. Adultery. Fornication. Dishonesty. Anger. Envy. Jealousy. And intoxication. These have been around forever. Whatever temptation you are experiencing is not uncommon. Unheard of. Or unconventional. You are not alone. Others have experienced it too!
(2) Remember God is faithful, even when we are not! What a wonderful assurance and a precious promise! Even when we become unfaithful and are under the influence of sin’s allurement, God is still there. Ever waiting. Still blessing. Ready to forgive. And offering healing and hope for the future. Unlike the sundew plant, God can free to sin’s grip, if we turn to Him.
People may give up on us. Abandon us. Or join us in our folly. But the Almighty is always available. His power is accessible to help us subdue temptation. And his grace and mercy is extended to welcome us home after we’ve succumbed to sin’s seduction.
(3) Realize Your temptation is not more than you can endure. Too often we give in to temptation with the justification, “It’s more than I can handle.” Or the rationalization, “I couldn’t help it.” Or the silly excuse, “Well, after all, I’m only human!”
Yes, we are human beings made in the image of a Holy God. He made us with the ability to choose right over wrong. The resolve of will to engage in good instead of evil. And the strength of character to subdue temptation with the power of Christ in us. You can endure! You can overcome. You can say, “No!”
(4) Trust that God will provide a way of escape. The way may be different for each of us. The apostle Paul found it necessary to engage in spiritual warfare to fight the wiles of the Devil (Eph. 6:10-17). Jesus put the Tempter to flight with words of Scripture, each time saying, “It is written.” (Matt. 3:1-10). Joseph literally ran from the sexual enticement of Potiphar’s wife.(Gen 39:11-12) And Daniel dealt with many challenges in captivity with a vigorous and vigilant prayer life (Dan. 6:10).
What will be your way of escape from temptation? I don’t know. But I do know that God will provide it.
On the old country TV show “Hee Haw,” that ran from 1967 to 1997 there was a bit where Doc Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm in two places.
The doc replies, “Well then, stay out of them places!”
That’s good advice when it comes to temptation.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman