Monday, July 13 – “He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.” (Proverbs 7:8-9) You can probably write the rest of this story. This young man was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He knew that this was a place of temptation, but he still went down that street. He knew that her corner and her house was a place of temptation, but he still made the choice to walk by as night set in. This decision isn’t God’s doing or even the Devil’s doing. This choice was made by this young man and only this young man. That is the lesson of this Proverb. You and I must take credit for our temptations. Not that the temptation is the problem, but without taking credit for our temptations it becomes way too easy to follow them. Not every temptation is bad, but everything bad will start as a simple temptation.
Tuesday, July 14 – “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” (Genesis 3:12) Classic denial of any responsibility! Adam not only blamed the woman for his sinful act, he lumped God into the blame mix. He refers to Eve as “The woman you put here with me.” Adam actually blames God, to God’s face, for the sin that he himself committed. Everything that is old is new again. Us humans are very good at diverting blame from ourselves to someone else or something else. When we are falling into temptation, we rationalize that it is what we want and it is what we deserve. When we get caught, after we fall into our temptations, everything becomes about someone else or something else that made us do it. You won’t be able to resist any and all temptations, but when you do fall to temptation, have enough faith in God to, at least, take all the credit.
Wednesday, July 15 – “Then the Lord said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” (Genesis 3:13) Eve had a very good teacher in Adam. She couldn’t blame herself or Adam, so she turned her sights on the serpent. She blamed a talking snake for the sin in her life. Now, before you begin to judge her too harshly, what or who have you blamed for the sin in your life? We have blamed our friends, entertainers like musicians or movie stars, politicians, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the books we read, our parents, our socio-economic status, the companies we work for and, of course, the Devil, for the sin in our lives. When, just like Adam and Eve, it had nothing to do with anything or anyone outside of us, but had everything to do with the temptations inside of us. The quicker you get good at acknowledging that your sin is the direct result of you giving into your temptations, the better you will get at resisting your temptations.
Thursday, July 16 – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Here is some knowledge of God: God isn’t trying to trick you or trap you. God isn’t sitting up in heaven trying to figure out how he can cause you to sin. So, don’t blame God or anything else for that matter, for the sin in your life. If you need to blame anyone or anything, take a good long look in the mirror. It is you who allows your temptations to grow into sin through your actions. Now temptations will come, it isn’t a question of if, it is a question of when. When you are tempted, that is when you need to get good at taking “captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Temptation isn’t your problem. Acting on your temptations is your problem, for that is when sin shows up. God is calling you to get good at recognizing and resisting your temptations.
Friday, July 17 – “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” The good news in all of this resisting temptation conversation is that little thing called grace. God is full of grace and will walk with you in everything and through everything. It isn’t like God is sitting up in heaven saying “Work it out” to all of us. God is right here, with all of us, in the midst of life. God has given you everything that you need in order to resist your temptations. All any of us need to do is to access those resources when temptations show up on the scene. The problem is that when most of us find ourselves tempted, the last thing on our minds is seeking God’s guidance and help. We get so caught up in filling our desires and getting what we want, we forget about God. God knows the desires of your heart and God knows what you want. Trust him to help you to achieve the desires of your heart and to get what you want out of life. When those nasty temptations show up, turn to God, confess it and allow him to meet you right there and to provide for you whatever it is that you need in that very moment.