In the end, it boils down to a simple equation. If you love God more than the thing that’s tempting you, you will resist and endure the temptation. If you love the thing that’s tempting you more than you love God, then you’ll find a reason, an excuse, or a moment that you will insist was a moment of weakness but was, in truth, a moment of opportunity to give in.
After all the excuses, attempted justifications, and exhaustive explanations, one either endures and resists temptation, or they don’t. There’s no middle ground. You either ate the peach cobbler or let it sit right where it was.
We are on a journey to reach the summit of spiritual maturity. Any distraction from that singular goal and pursuit is an impediment and must be done away with, no matter how warm and fuzzy it may make us feel.
Not everything that feels good is good for you. The same goes for things that taste good. It is within the context of what your purpose and desire are that you can determine whether or not something is good for you. If your desire is holiness unto God, if your desire is righteousness and faithfulness, then anything that impedes those things is, by definition, not good for you.
You know, the devil knows, the devil knows that you know, but still, he tries because he’s hoping to catch you off guard so he can convince you what he’s trying to tempt you with isn’t as foul as it is. Once you belong to Christ and remain in Christ, the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.
Knowing this, when one gives into temptation, it speaks to a larger spiritual problem since, if they were in Christ, their heart and mind would have been guarded. It’s when we distance ourselves from the light that what lurks in the dark can more readily seek to devour. It’s when we stray from truth that the seeds of deception can more readily be planted in our hearts.
There is very little the enemy can do if you remain hidden in Christ, and your life is truly His. This is why he gets petty, becoming more of a nuisance than anything harmful to your spiritual man. Don’t get me wrong, he is still up to his old tricks, but when you’ve walked with Christ and have learned to obey in all things, even his worst attacks will seem mild because the fiery darts of the wicked one will be quenched before they can connect.
When we’re not living the lives God commanded us to live, the enemy can set snares and lay in wait. It is when we are not walking in obedience that his attacks succeed in leaving a mark and causing us to stumble. We may get back up, dust ourselves off, and pursue God with a new zeal, but some never do, wallowing in their defeat and allowing the flesh to regain all the ground it had lost to the spiritual man.
The moment you stop living as though you are in constant warfare is when the enemy can advance and overtake you. Even Paul addressed the vanity of being a soldier and attempting to entangle yourself with the affairs of this life, insisting that they were incongruent. You must pick one or the other. You can’t do both; you can’t have both; you can’t pursue both; and you can’t desire both.
With all the evidence, both anecdotal and otherwise, to this day, men still believe they can have divided hearts, divided loyalties, and divided pursuits. It’s akin to half your body pulling you to the left and the other half pulling you to the right. The best you can hope for is that you’ll be rooted to the spot, not giving ground but holding in place. Tragically, more often than not, one half subjugates the other, and since the individual in question wasn’t where he was supposed to be in relation to his spiritual man, the flesh is the dominant half that wins out.
You see it in people who begin with a tiny compromise or the allowance of one pet sin they consider harmless and irrelevant, and the more time passes, the more libertine they get until they’re watching fully grown men engaged in public hedonism while waving rainbow flags.
Sin is a degenerative disease of the soul. Until it is excised it will eat away at your convictions, your principles, and your ethics. Most of the time, what we see displayed on television is the end result of a long process and a downward spiral. No one starts off that broken, that lost, that empty, and that dark, but that’s how they all end up given enough time and no one loving them enough to tell them they’re headed in the wrong direction toward a very bad end.
It’s why, as children of God, we cannot validate, embrace, or celebrate sin because sin leads to ruin every time without fail. That we have neither the courage nor the empathy to tell those in the darkness that there is light, to tell those who are lost that they can be found, to tell those who are ill that they can be healed, is something we will be called to account for. It will be something for which we will be called to answer.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 12 November 2023 | 12:47 pm
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