Resisting temptation is much easier than we think. Those moral dilemmas we find ourselves in are often the result of putting ourselves directly in front of temptation. This truth is well-illustrated by this story. A little boy climbed on his neighbor’s fence to take a good look at his apple tree. The fruit hung just beyond his reach. He knew he shouldn’t steal, but he was hungry. His mouth watered as he thought about how good it might taste. But before he could reach his hand to grab an apple, the neighbor leaped from a bush and shouted, “Are you trying to steal my apples?”
The little boy answered, “No, sir. I’m trying not to.”
How many times have you found that “trying not to” sin doesn’t work very well when you put yourself in the path of temptation? Consider the Biblical record going back to the Garden of Eden, and you will find that men and women have always been unable to resist temptation in their own strength. This was true of Adam and Eve, Samson, King David, and countless others.
But as you study the Bible, you will also notice men and women who identified their besetting sins and committed their struggles to God beforehand. They were able either to avoid tempting situations, or resist temptation when it presented itself. For examples consider Joseph, Jeremiah, and Daniel.
Have you identified your besetting sins? Maybe you battle lust, or you have a tendency to gossip. Perhaps you are easily inflated with pride or are troubled by envy. Stay away from the source of your temptation. Only when you acknowledge your weakness will God give you His strength to overcome. Won’t you commit your besetting sins to Him today?
I cannot keep birds from flying over my head, but I can keep them from building under my hat. — Martin Luther
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.