When it comes to fleeing temptation the first thing that comes to my mind is all the times I failed to walk away. I think of how hard it is to talk about walking away from temptation when I am all too guilty of giving in. If there were a five or ten step formula to fleeing temptation that I knew about, I would give it to you. But unfortunately, I don’t know just five simple steps, nor do I have them.
In our society today it is easy to obtain goals and avoid mistakes by writing things down, reading self help books, reading a few steps of success that we need to get where we want. But at the end of the day I believe we are all too human, and we are all prone to wander and do things we wish we hadn’t or didn’t REALLY want to do.
In Romans 7 Paul goes on this little round about with words talking about how he wants to do right, but instead he does what he hates, but because he feels guilty that he knows what is right, but because of sin he does bad. But it’s not him, it’s the sin inside him. So he wants to do right but for some reason he always seems to mess up and not really do the right things he wants to do, but its not really him, but the human nature inside him. You should read it; Paul does a better job with words than I do. But this verse I feel is the everyday Christian, wanting to do the right things and sometimes we do, but sometimes we don’t. (Or most of the time )
A lot of people experience slipping up, and think sometimes that “since I’m already doing bad, and I fail inevitably, why should I even try to be good, or do what’s right because I suck and so I’m just going to settle with sucking the rest of my sucky life”… Then there are people ,who for some crazy reason, don’t think that they do anything wrong. Weird. Neither are good approaches. The first one is negative and very pessimistic. Jesus created us to be able to grow and learn and that will not happen if you decide that there is no point in trying just because you inevitably fail. If you don’t like failing, I suggest you learn to deal with it. It will happen at one point in time or another. The second approach is even worse because when people think they are perfect or know everything they leave no room for Jesus to teach them. None the less, not “if” but “when” temptation, comes your way it always seems to be when we are tired or worn out, when we feel stagnant, when temptations that didn’t used to seem tempting all of the sudden seem so much fun and oh so lovely.
I do believe that there are things that we should walk away from and never look back. Ladies, if you are feeling lonely and some guy is texting you after midnight asking you to come over and watch a movie…Don’t play naïve. Don’t go over there; your chances of going and leaving without him trying to make a sleezy move are slim to none. Gentleman, if you are struggling with porn, don’t hangout in your room late at night on your computer. If you want to be sober, don’t go to bars. If you truly want to stop falling into a repetitive cycle of the same thing, my best advice to you is, don’t play with fire. And pray…A LOT. Seriously you can never pray too much. If you are as human as me that little fire will snap right back and you will notice that you were burned. If there were an alligator in a bathtub would you keep putting your foot in there to see if eventually you wouldn’t get bit?
I do understand that there are addictions, and there are habits that are excruciatingly hard to break. But hope is not lost and Jesus did not leave you behind and save everyone else so that you can comfortably wallow in your addictions and habits. In case you forget, your Jesus kicked death in the butt. There is nothing in this life he cannot overcome. And he is more than happy to overcome it for you and with you, if you let him.
This is not about never failing in life, and never sinning. It’s not about settling with our prone nature to fall and stay there either. (And it’s not about being perfect) .This is about Jesus. Our human strength may help us change tires, and it may help us not cry in public, and endure through physics class, but at the end of the day, and at the beginning of the day “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart forever” Psalms 73:26.
At the end of Paul’s round about he continues to say “Oh! What a miserable person I am! Who will save me?” translated for into “ why do I suck so bad? how can I not suck so bad!” dun dun dun “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus” Romans 7:14-25. Just remember that in times of weakness, being sick and tired, bored, or angry, that you are not alone and that you have millions of brothers and sisters who have or who are struggling as well. It’s not about who is more perfect and who made less mistakes when we get to heaven, It’s a matter of trying, and it’s a matter of letting Jesus do his work in you and letting his love and strength flow into your soul. Don’t mistake “trying” with “obsessing over being perfect”. Obsess over Jesus and his character will follow in your being.
Walking away from temptations is hard, and I will be the first to admit that its reallllllyyyy hard, and that I have failed, and do fail. But don’t pity yourself in your failure, keep your chin up, PRAY, see what you can learn from it, and TRY to not do it again, then give it to Jesus and let it be thrown or wiped away.
But to be honest as you grow and as you learn, as you let Jesus teach you; you begin to see that your weakness is the perfect position for God to display his strength and prove his love and faithfulness to you once again. This at least is what I have come to see, learn, and experience in my short little life so far.
2 corinthians 12:8-10
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-14
New Living Translation (NLT)
12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.