"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26.41)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10.13)
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief's. (1 Timothy 6.9-10)
Think back to a story in the Old Testament; a story that illustrates victory against all odds and victory against temptation. This is the story of a man called Daniel.
Daniel was not your typical Old Testament kid growing up born into Judean nobility. Years later, Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon defeated Israel and took young men of royal or noble birth back to Babylon with him. Daniel was one of those men. While there he and his friends were instructed in the literature, art, wisdom, and science of Babylon. For three years he studied under some of Babylons greatest teachers.
Daniel was offered all the benefits of a nobleman. This included the best food and the top choices of wine. Education, housing and the best food and drink were "not bad" for a kid taken as a prisoner of war.
However, the real adventure of the story is found in Daniel's response to all of these gifts they were lavished upon him. When offered the choicest food, Daniel rejected it because of its impact on his relationship with God. Daniel chose a righteous relationship with Jehovah God over the choice "things" of the King.
We see this is Daniel 1.8 where it's written "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way."
Like Daniel, until we "make up our minds" to choose righteousness over enticement, our lives will be lived constantly on the edge of the abyss. Temptation will be overwhelming and sin will rest at our door.
Flee Temptation, do what is right and just, run to Jesus!
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Nathan Greene is minister of Barlow Vincent Church of Christ. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.