By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Temptation is an experience that is shared by every human to have walked the earth and yet it’s an experience that is difficult to describe.
Temptation is not sin. After all, Jesus himself was tempted. Instead, temptation is the inclination to sin, the moment that our heart and our mind pause to beg the question, “Should I?” It’s the moment that “free will” discovers it’s meaning–the power to say yes or no.
To go even further, temptation is anytime we are met with the dilemma of whether or not to destroy our humanity. After all, that’s what sin is. It’s the tainting of our God-bearing image. It’s the destruction of that which makes us fully human and therefore a perfect reflection of who God is. When we are met with temptation, it’s deciding whether to continue in reflecting His image or adding dirt onto the mirrors of our souls.
Temptation can take many forms. It’s the selfish desire that can hinder our relationship with God or with others. It’s usually a short-term decision that pleases me now but has long-term effects.
But I want to take temptation a step further. Not only can our falling into temptation damage our relationship with God and with others, but I believe there are forms of temptation that seek to harm our relationship with ourselves.
What do I mean?
I think that temptation, among many other things, is choosing whether or not to believe the lies we tell ourselves.
You know what I’m talking about. That voice in your head that rings out in moments of defeat and failure. You’re worthless. You’re stupid. You’re a screw-up. You can’t do anything right. You should just give up. You should just run away.
We are tempted to believe the lies that fill our heads with talk of derision and insults. When anxiety racks our brain and fear strangles our thoughts, we are tempted to believe that there’s no hope and there’s no time.
Throughout the course of your day, the Enemy speaks a countless number of lies to you, but you have the decision to believe them or not. The temptation will be to bury these negative thoughts in your heart and allow them to affect the way you feel, act, and live.
But Jesus tells us what those thoughts actually are: lies.
“When [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
At your next point of weakness, failure, and disappointment, temptation will come. You will be tempted to fall into the lies that you tell yourself. But it’s important to remember that, when it comes to temptation, you always have a choice.
Will you be tempted to believe the lies, or simply throw them away?
This Christmas season, after you unwrap your gifts and gather up the torn paper to toss in the trash, will you throw the lies in after?
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog