The Struggle is Real: Resisting Temptation
I want to do things I shouldn’t.
Sometimes it’s funny. How my feelings about chocolate mirror my son’s temptation with the TV remotes.
Other times, it’s not so humorous.
Resisting temptation often comes down to walking away.
See that verse we often misquote, about God not giving us more than we can bear? It actually says he won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can stand up under.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
A way of escape that we may endure temptation without indulging. Not that we won’t be tempted.
I know we’re enticed by many things, but there’s a specific inclination heavy on my heart this morning.
Now doubt isn’t a pretty thing. No one catches their breath at the beauty of concern and allure of uncertainty. But it sure discourages me.
I come to circumstances with expectant faith. Watching and waiting for God to move.
Unnoticed at first, doubt creeps in like a tiny breeze. Until it grows into a fierce headwind.
All of a sudden—or so it seems—I’m distracted by all the circumstances around me. Doubting if this was ever God’s plan to begin with. If trials and adversity are signs of failure, proof that I chose the wrong course instead seeing them as waves for Jesus to calm at my feet.
My imagination fills in untold details of one of Peter’s temptation stories:
How at sunset, Jesus goes off to the mountain to pray as the disciples take their boat out to sea.
Like some of his friends, Peter was a fisherman. Boats, fish, and ocean waves were their domain. Yet after struggling against the wind until the early hours of the morning, these men felt tired. Discouraged. They’d made little headway and felt “beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.”
Peter looks up from his water-soaked seat on the boat and sees a dark figure walking toward them on the water.
It had to be a ghost.
We laugh at this now, knowing full well that Jesus walks on water. But remember, that was news to Pete and the gang.
Christ calms their fears, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Now Pete, he never wants to be outdone. I imagine him trying to play it off, casually tossing his Jesus-style mane like he was never afraid.
“Lord, I’ll come to you on the water if want me to.”
Oh shoot. Jesus is calling him out of the boat! Now he has to do it.
So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind … (Matthew 14:29–30a ESV)
Wait. Hold up. When he saw the wind? The same wind that was blowing the whole time? The strong wind that kept them from making progress all night long? The wind that left them beaten by the waves and sprayed with sea water? That wind?
But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:30–32 ESV)
Good ol’ Pete was tempted by what he gave his attention to.
Already out of the boat, making progress on the water, he was close enough to take Jesus’s hand when he turned his gaze away.
I can poke fun at his missteps. How right before their boat ride, Peter watched Jesus feed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish.
As Jesus helps him into the boat I imagine Peter getting mad at himself. Common Pete, get your stuff together.
But his failings give me hope because I too, am tempted by doubt.
the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6b ESV)
- I doubt that I can walk in the life God has called me into.
- I question if things will work out as the Lord has said.
- I hesitate to operate in faith despite my circumstance.
So what’s a girl to do when she comes face to face with her doubt?
Remember God is faithful and turn your attention back to Him. He will provide the way of escape, that we may be able to endure.
This is Part One of a series! Join the fun, inbox style, so you don’t miss out on future posts!