Wednesday, September 24
- "To entice to do something wrong or unwise." (Webster - Dictionary)
- "Pray simply like this:
Keep us forgiven with You and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil." (Jesus - Matthew 6))
Recently I was hit by a particularly strong form of temptation.
Temptation, I realize, is part of normal living - but this was was stronger than I had experienced in a pretty long time.
An innocuous gaze turned suddenly poisonous.
The normal patterns of thought and response were suddenly stalled.
The snake had bitten.
(The devil is called a snake often - see Revelation 12:9)
Suddenly I felt the numbing and paralysis.
Then the temptation was over.
Quick hit....quick slither off.
But I felt weakened, disappointed...and wondering what I should do in response.
I was worried that the snake would try to return.
He usually will.
Here is what I did.
1. I immediately began to pray, right where I was, and in soft tones began to ask God to forgive me for yielding to that temptation, even briefly, and to forgive me and make me clean inside again.
2. I reminded myself of one very special promise: "if we confess our sins He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:8-9)
3. It came to me then to solicit a friend's help in making sure that I had dealt with this openly enough. I would ask that friend to hear my confession, to question me in any way appropriate and to pray with me. I would also ask this person to check back with me and ask me how I am doing, whenever it seemed good to do so. (James 5:16)
4. Soon after determining #3 (above) was to be part of the agenda, I did just that - told of my encounter with temptation and in return found love, acceptance and wisdom in the process. We both prayed together as well.
5. Finally, I thought of a preventative idea...one deliberate but simple step that I could take to put up a wall between myself and the temptation....shutting down its source....and trapping the serpent in his den. I did that at the next opportunity. It worked.
"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down;
He'll never let you be pushed past your limit;
He'll always be there to help you come through it." I Corinthians 10:13ff