What’s your temptation threshold?
How long will you say “no” to the daily donuts at the office before you stuff your face? How far does your will power take you until you pour another one? How much of a percent of your paycheck can you give away before greed successfully seduces you, “Hey, you can use this better than they’re using it.”
If you’re honest you will admit that you’ve often fallen into temptation with too little of a fight. As a matter of fact, sometimes no fight at all! Sometimes the temptation is welcome. It offers something that feels good, gives control, offers relief.
Until later. Then the guilt burns. And there will be a next time. There always is.
Before then, take your guilt to the cross of Jesus and leave it there for him to deal with completely. Take your disappointment in yourself to your baptism, where it was washed away by the cleansing waters of the Spirit. Bring your fears to your Heavenly Father and he’ll chase them away with his ever ready concern about you and power over whatever frightens you.
And watch your threshold rise! “God is faithful,” the Bible says, “he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”
How much can you bear? How long can you endure? How far can you go? “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The answer to your temptation threshold is found not in you, but in God!
How strong is God? How forgiving is God? How faithful is God? How true are God’s promises? How fully can you count on God? How many times will he forget or fail?
There is the way out of temptation. A way that, ironically, doesn’t weaken the temptation as much as it strengthens you to “stand up under it.”
So don’t be surprised if the temptation doesn’t always or immediately go away. God is still at work providing a way out. He is strengthening you to stand.
When temptation comes calling again, remember that you fight with the very strength of God. Learn and trust that when God works in your life, there is no threshold.
Temptation can not have its way. So don’t let it.
PRAYER: Make me strong, O God, when temptations make their appeal. Turn me to trust in your promises and depend on your strength so that I can stand up under temptations and do your will. Remember today those who are addicted to sinful behavior, trapped in a deadly cycle of temptation that has imprisoned their desires. By the power of your love, unshackle them from guilt and fear. Empower them to change, saying “no” again and again and again to sin and saying “yes” to your way, your love, and your path. Give wisdom to those who counsel them, and loving patience to their friends and family. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Slow down, take 5 minutes right now, and use the PRAY acronym.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about his faithfulness)
- Repent (tell God about your falling into temptation recently, trust in his promises of forgiveness that guarantee victory)
- Ask (go ahead, think big, there’s the temptation that you haven’t yet conquered, ask for new strength and faith to battle it like you’ve never battled it before)
- Yield (this is the hardest part, like praying for patience and God then gives you practice at patience, yielding to his answer often puts us in an uncomfortable position but he knows best, his answers are always perfect, loving and wise, so believe)