James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Although up until now, James was focused on trials, what they produce, and how they may appear in the life of the believer, he shifts to temptation and insists that the man who endures temptation is blessed.
For as long as we are in these earthen vessels, temptation is a given. Usually, whenever discussing the topic of temptation, our minds automatically go to where the temptation we endure is the most difficult, like seeing peach cobbler alamode on the menu on the first day of your diet.
We’ve all been there. We know how good it feels to resist the urge to order the cobbler, eat our dry, flavorless eggs, wash them down with a glass of water, pay our bill, and walk away. That feeling, that elation, that moment of having resisted and endured, lasts far longer than the taste of warm peach cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream on your lips.
The enemy’s purpose is to tempt you. Your duty is to endure and resist his attempts at tempting you. Sometimes, it’s not peach cobbler you have to resist, but your own mind when it tells you it’s perfectly reasonable to cut corners, spend less time in the Word, and spend less time with God because you’re a busy little bee, and God knows that you are, so He’s okay with playing second fiddle to your dream of running a hair extension empire.
Oftentimes, the battles we wage with ourselves, the battles that occur in the mind, are far more difficult than any external temptation the enemy might throw at us. The external temptation you can walk away from. You see a freshly baked pie in the bakery window, and your mouth starts to water, but then you turn and walk away and soon forget about the pie. You can’t walk away from your mind, though. It’s always with you wherever you go, and if you’ve not learned to set your mind on the things above, the thoughts will eat at you like hungry termites at rotten beams.
This is why the devil attacks the mind before assailing the eyes, the ears, or any of the other senses. If your mind is right, if your focus is on Jesus, then whatever the enemy might throw at you will bounce off, and you’ll be stronger for it. If, however, you entertain the thoughts and start playing the what-if game, eventually, when that pie crosses your path, you’ll be sitting there with an empty pie tin and an upset stomach, wondering what happened.
I’ve had enough discussions with individuals who shipwrecked their lives in one way or another to know that the journey from thought to action to everything falling apart is a blur in their minds. They remember entertaining temptation rather than resisting and enduring it, perhaps spending one second too long looking at something they shouldn’t have or allowing an improper conversation to go on longer than it should, then the end result of giving in, regret, and all.
Temptation cannot be avoided altogether. It must be endured. It was impossible to avoid temptation even before the advent of television, the internet, DoorDash, GrubHubs, and smartphones. All these things just made it easier to give in to temptation. Since we can’t avoid it, we must resist it. We must endure temptation in whichever form it may present itself because that’s what we are meant to do.
Yes, measures can be taken wherein you don’t put yourself in the path of temptation from the moment you wake up to when you go back to sleep, but to avoid them altogether is not feasible even if you decide to move out to the hinterlands with nothing but armadillos and porcupine for company.
Self-awareness is a must when it comes to enduring temptation. Know your weaknesses, and do your utmost to shore them up until your weakness is as strong as your strongest strength. Don’t entertain your temptation thinking this time you’ll get the better of it because, the more you entertain it, the weaker you become, and eventually you will give in.
It’s far easier to resist peach cobbler when you see it on the menu but do nothing to advance your desire for it. It’s far harder when you take an order to go, put it in your fridge, and know it's there. Come four am, you’re bleary-eyed and hungry, and the only thing you can think about is the cobbler in your fridge. Don’t bring it home; leave it where it is. That’s worthwhile advice and not just for peach cobbler.
If men understood the gravity of giving in to their temptations, perhaps they wouldn’t be so eager to flirt with them as though they were harmless. The same goes for women; temptation is not gender specific.
But he said he loved me! Really? After two hours, three drinks, and a handful of awkward compliments? You know better, or at least you should, and if you don’t, why not?
Colossians 3:2-7, “Set your mind on things above, and no ton things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.”
If you go looking for excuses, you’ll find them. If you go looking for temptations to fall into, there are plenty to be had, but blessed is the man who endures temptation.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 11 November 2023 | 12:33 pm
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