Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lead me NOT into temptation... no, seriously!!

Lately, I've been in a situation where I'm staring temptation in the face. Literally.  See, I had been crushing on this guy for a while and it had gotten really intense at one point. I prayed about him--even dreamed about him [not that kinda dream, but I did have some 'impure' thoughts *sigh* forgive me again, Lord!]--then I finally got several opportunities to interact with him. On top of us being spiritually 'incompatible', it seems that he's not that into me... so yeah, there goes that. And while I'm not expecting anything meaningful to happen between us, I still respect him as a person and I think he's just a cool dude. The fact that I still consider him grade-A eye candy *rawr* is just a plus. LOL

So now that I've reached the point where I felt that I had let the desire for this guy completely go, I'm seeing him more than I ever did before--and in quite close proximity. I'm like, "Really, God? You show me that he's not for me and now he's all up in my face? WHY would you even do that? Dis a test Lawd, cuz ah gon fail bad!" Seriously, it's like taunting a a chocoholic diabetic with a slice of the Cheesecake Factory's Godiva special! ARRRGH!!

In the midst of this whole hot mess of a situation in my mind, I stopped and asked myself why would God actually do something like this to me. As it turns out, there's a bit of a debate in the Word when it comes to temptation. First, you can't get any more basic than The Lord's Prayer, the template for Christian prayer, where verse 13 says lead us not into temptation. Actually, Jesus said it--that's why I put it in red--and since He has direct insight into God's will, we can be sure that He wouldn't say something misleading. So Jesus is essentially praying for God not to lead us into temptation, implying that He could and would, right? Not necessarily.

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Some sources point to the term temptation as being one of several words that could have been translated from Greek to also mean testing, trial or experiment. Somehow, this seems more plausible because now it lines up with other Scriptures--specifically where it says "When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"; "when you are tempted, [H]e will also provide a way out so that you can endure it"; and "Consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance". It's relieving to know that God won't be tempting us....BUT don't get it twisted--the fine print lets us know that we will be tested, it's just a matter of when and how we respond to it.

Even Christ was tempted/tested so we can expect nothing less, but let's look at how we can learn from His experience. The first thing to understand is that the devil is the tempter--plain and simple:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” [Matthew 4:1-3]
The devil was gunning for Jesus' biggest weakness at that point in time--extreme hunger while fasting. Looking back at my situation, singleness is and has been a major struggle for me so it would make perfect sense for satan to use my 'crush' to tempt me. But I love the way Jesus snapped back at Him [and in my vivid imagination, He said it all stank too]: It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God". Two more times the devil tried to get Him to crack under the pressure but each time, Jesus countered with the Word. He didn't fantasize and play "What if...?" like I did #fail, but he immediately told satan where to go [Scripturally speaking, of course]. He effectively resisted the devil and true to the Word, the tempter had to flee.

This is a lot to digest, I know, but there are some concepts that are SO worth the reinforcement. We, myself being at the top of the list, may often gloss over admonitions to spend time in the Word but apparently it's kinda crucial. David's prayer to keep the Word in his heart as a deterrent to sin is not figurative. Saturating our [un]consciousness with Scripture is the only way to ensure that if when we are tempted, we will pass these tests with flying colors. #preachintomyself

Resist the devil... and blessed,

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