“The temptations that come into your life are no different from what other experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can stand up against it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
He was a mischievous boy who often succumbed to temptation.
One reason Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was to ridicule books that were being produced at the time portraying young boys as clean cut and always obedient to authorities. Tom didn’t fit the mold. He continually outfoxed his Aunt Polly even though she continued to believe he was a good boy down deep inside. Tom once joined the Cadets of Temperance, but only because he liked their gaudy uniforms and wanted to be the envy of other people as he marched in their parades. But the temptations to swear, drink, and smoke were too great. He eventually quit.
I can’t say I was much different than Tom when I was moving through the adolescent years. Sadly, I gave in repeatedly to many of my temptations. Only later in life did I learn I could win over them.
Paul says God will not allow temptations to be so strong that we can’t endure them with His help. Evidently, I was doing something wrong. Winning over temptation involves knowing my weaknesses. Satan doesn’t know all things, but he learns my weaknesses through interaction with me. Once he learns them, he zeroes in on these very things. Admitting my weaknesses isn’t easy or pleasant, but doing so is the first step toward success.
I must also trust the Source of victory: God’s Spirit within me. God doesn’t bring temptation but wants to help me overcome it…and will if I seek Him. Jesus was tempted in all ways that humans are and is perfectly capable of helping me see my way out of the tempting situation. All I must do is seek His guidance.
Staying away from bad sources is a good idea too. Tom didn’t; neither did I. Spending too much time with friends who have bad habits is unwise. Only God can give me the wisdom to be His light around sinful activity while at the same time avoiding the activity itself.
Putting on God’s armor is also wise. Thinking on godly things, standing for truth, carrying God’s love wherever I go, walking by faith, and soaking in God’s Word are all measured steps I can take to win over temptation.
Are you winning over your temptations? If not, you can.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA