What does one do when facing discouraging, mouth-watering temptations?
It has been over a year since my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although I made every effort to bring her over to the country where I reside, I had no choice but to leave her in the tender care of a nursing home in Belgium. I am on the phone daily with her, but sometimes it’s as if it is a bore for her to take my calls. I try to involve her in my life, but often she seems uninterested. These times are when discouragement starts knocking on the doors of my heart.
I don’t let it ever overwhelm me, however!
First of all, I remember her medical diagnosis, and I understand what Alzheimer’s can do in her poor brain. Secondly I remember the mom she used to be. A mom, who was always available in time of need, a mom, who always had words of encouragement and who always made my favourite dinner when I was down, a mom who involved me in her life and who worried endlessly about my safety. What great advice she used to give! She was a master of surprises, always bringing home a weekly trinket of some sort that meant the world to me. In one word, she was the best friend of my youth.
As a result, I don’t stop calling her daily. I want to shower her with as much love as possible. Nothing will ever discourage me from doing so!
When facing our worst nightmares, be they trials, tribulations or temptations, resistance is only possible if we remember.
But what should we remember?
We should remember the times God has shown His love for us! We should remember the Passion Week, the week where the impossible was made possible!
Have you ever wondered why it is called “Passion Week”? It is because Jesus has only one passion, and that is to save you! The Passion Week is real proof of this, for though there were only hours before His suffering an awful death at the hands of Roman soldiers, Jesus was filled with purpose and desire!
The words of the writer of Hebrews reminds us of this: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Heb 12:2 NIV) Jesus’ heart was so totally immersed in his mission that it was ablaze with only one purpose: saving the unsaveable! With passion he cleansed the temple (see Mat 21:12). With passion he uttered one of his deepest desires: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matt 23:37 NIV)
And He has that same longing for each one of us, for you!
As the hours dwindle down to his final arrest, his passion intensified: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15 NIV)
If I were facing a cruel execution, I wouldn’t even have a hint of hunger, much less would I want to be with others! But Jesus was delighted at the prospect! He couldn’t wait to have fellowship with His disciples!
His heart is still ablaze and that fire is you, along with everyone else who, just like His disciples, takes the time to get to know Him!
He died so that we could be free! He died so that we could be saved for eternity! He died so that temptation would lose its lustre on us. But only if we remember!
If we take the time to remember, we will be propelled by his love and we will withstand temptation with flying colors! Only love, His love, can save us from addictions! Self-effort is useless and often digs us deeper into sin.
Remember: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3 The Message)
Remember! He loves you! He has invested His whole life in you! Victory is yours, and He is always there for you, so that you can be sure of it! Through His love you WILL be victorious!
Where did I leave my false teeth! Oh! My memory is so poor! But who cares! What’s more important is to savour the love of the Lover of my soul!
(To access the entire “Addictive Lovers of our Life” devotional series, please click here.)