Do you remember Flip Wilson? He often played a character named Geraldine Jones who, when her wrongs were exposed, would vociferously declare, “The devil made me do it!”
To this, I respond with a deep and certain theological truth: Baloney!
God’s Word tells us that the seizing grip of temption is common to man. Temptation is something that grabs at us and rears it’s ugly, and enticing head, to every one of us. We are not alone in this experience. It is common to all.
Still, we can often feel like we are all alone, even desperately so, in our struggle with temptation. This isn’t true. Not only do others wrestle in their minds, bodies and spirits with similar temptations, but God promises us that we are never alone in our struggles. Our God is with us.
God’s Word tells us that even when we are facing our most fierce, gripping and constant temptations in life, we still, and always, have a choice about whether to sin or not to sin. We are not left alone in the battle against temptation. Never.
God is with us. And God always provides a way out from caving in to our sinful cravings. God always gives us the choice to say, “NO” to sin.
And that way out is to say, “YES” to standing in obedience to God!
That way out is to choose God. To cry out, ”Help me, GOD! I need YOUR strength! I need YOU to give me the self-control, the patience, the purity, the honesty, the desire to do what is right…Help me to say YES to YOU, GOD, and NO to the temptation! I need YOU!”
God promises to always give us the strength, the way out, so we may do what is right. Those times when I do choose my own way and choose to give in to temptation–the lure or the selfish-satisfaction of it, is NOT because I have no choice.
I have to be honest. It’s NOT because I can’t do anything other than sin in that moment. It is because I won’t do anything other than sin in that moment.
We each may choose to either to cave in to temptation or to humbly and courageously take Abba’s outstretched hand and have Him lead us away–way out of the way–from temptation.
God’s love, God’s way, God’s will–this is the way out from choosing to sin that God always provides.
And this is the way in to the peace and strength God fully pours into us as we say, “YES” to obeying God’s protective, loving care and commands.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
I Corinthians 10:13
In love, peace and purposeful passion, Sylane