I told someone that I’d pray for them the other day because they were dealing with some temptations, and to be honest, when I said that, I felt as if I didn’t have any temptations of my own that needed to be dealt with. Boy, did the Lord really open my eyes later that day.
I had brought four books that I was planning on finishing before Christmas break, and I picked up one that I had been trying to finish over the summer, but babysitting 3.5 year olds really doesn’t give one time to read. I was frustrated because I couldn’t remember what happened when I last read the book, so I flipped through the pages, trying to get a summary of the events of the last few chapters.
But as I read, I realized that what I had been reading this past summer was not good. Some of the content wasn’t the greatest. Sure, some people wouldn’t have minded the profane language or the sketchy scenes being described. As I reread it, I felt filthy and disgusted at myself. How could I have read this over the summer and just turn my head and cough? Where exactly was my heart and mind this summer if I didn’t feel this guilty about reading all of this?
I dropped the book and walked away, the guilt weighing down in my chest and stomach. I was torn between two parts of myself:
- The Bookworm Me: The book was the biggest book I owned, and the story line was interesting. I wanted to see what happened at the end and accomplish the feat of reading such a large book, especially from such a famous author.
- The Christian Me: But…did I really want to continue reading this book, knowing what I’d just read and unaware of exactly how many more scenes there would be and how many more profane words would be used? The Holy Spirit in my quivered and shook at the thought of returning to those pages.
I decided to wait out my decision until later…and that’s when I read what a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
“Temptation can come in many forms. It can be a girl, a knife, certain friends, a computer. Whatever it may be learn to turn away from it whether it may be not talking to someone, leaving knifes at home or finding a different group of people.”
As soon as I read that, I realized that my thoughts after reading that book had not been the purest. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I couldn’t pick that book up again. I couldn’t finish it. No matter how much the bookworm in me was screaming inside of me to finish it, my soul knew that it couldn’t handle it.
I texted my friend afterwards and thanked him for his post. It really did encourage me and gave me some insight on my own life. And then I asked him to pray for me. On a side note: Family…always having each others’ backs no matter what… 🙂 ❤ LOVE. TRUST. ENCOURAGEMENT. SO BLESSED.
There are all sorts of temptations out in the world. But, like my friend here said, we have to learn how to say “no,” how to leave something at home, when to stop speaking to certain people, how to turn something off, how to walk away. The most important thing about temptation is how we react to it. Do we give in and embrace what we’ve done or feel guilty about it, but then do nothing to prevent it from happening again? Or do we ask God to give us the strength and wisdom to deal with the temptation? Of course, we’re all fallen, so we’re going to mess up. But we can still lessen those mistakes.
Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, and he used Scripture against the devil. This is a practice that I fail at doing. When I’m tempted, I don’t run and grab my Bible. I do pray, though, and weigh my options out. But I need to realize that I don’t have the strength to deal with this temptation. My flesh is weak and fallen and sinful.
But the Holy Spirit within me is able to withstand.
“The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, He will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NCV)
God knows our hearts. He knows what we struggle with everyday, and He won’t give us something we can’t handle. Isn’t that encouraging? Knowing that God has allowed you to be tempted because He knows you an handle it…it’s kind of incredible.
Through all of this, I have to remember:
Pray. Ask God to give you the wisdom and strength to deal with the temptation. And know when to stop speaking, leave something there, turn something off, and walk away. ❤