~~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV84) ~~ “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, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
by Carley Cooper
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Cheesecake with Fruit Filling
Ever notice how some things in life seem to be a ‘given’? I mean there really is no decision to be made in some situations. You just know what you want without even thinking about whether it is right or wrong; good or bad for you. I was planning a huge party once. I was at the caterer’s office with the person who was planning this ‘shin-dig’ with me. We discussed the menu particulars and decided that roasted chicken would be the main entre, with potatoes and vegetables. After we finalized the details of the appetizers and dinner, the next item on the list was dessert. The lady told us that our choices were apple pie with ice cream or cheesecake. My partner and I both looked at each other for what must have been a whole... 3 seconds. We did not say a single word to each other, and then we both looked at the woman across the table from us and we said in unison ‘cheesecake’. It was just a given. There was no choice to be made for either of us. Why would anyone ever want to turn down cheesecake?
If there is any one dessert to be served to us one day in heaven, I have no doubt that it is cheesecake (with raspberry filling and drizzled with chocolate)! OK, so that triggers the next thought. If this incredible morsel is so absolutely heavenly than why is it sinfully delicious?! Isn’t that a contradiction? Could it be that cheesecake is just one of my weakest temptations? Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between something really awesome and God-sent, and something that is a temptation from the enemy. Appeal is the part that makes temptations so tempting. If it was not for the appeal, it would not have any hold on us. Whether you are a new Christian or someone who is very well ‘seasoned’, you will always have struggles with temptations in your life. It is a guarantee that Satan will always use our weakest points, and in our weakest moments, to dangle that proverbial ‘big carrot’ in front of us. Of course; ‘carrots’, for the average person are not tempting. That is why the enemy chooses something equivalent to chocolate or cheesecake that is almost impossible for us to walk away from. Then he will whisper in your ear “Just one time will not change your whole life”; or “No one will know, we just won’t tell anyone.”, “What’s the big deal, it’s not like anyone will get hurt”.
When we succumb to temptation then we have sinned against God. The good news, though, is that temptation in itself is not a sin. It is when we make the decision to willingly reach out and take that dangling chocolate we are committing a sin. How are we to handle it when we are looking at temptations straight in the face? Well, first we have to recognize that what we are looking at is a sin. Anything that goes against the Word of God is a sin. The Bible tells us that God will never allow us to be exposed to a temptation that we are unable to carry ourselves. It also says that He will always provide a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV84) Therefore, when we sin it is always because we freely chose self-gratification over God. How do we turn away from temptation? First, we need to pray about it. Ask God to lift this burden if it is in His will to do so, or for help to get through it. (Psalm 55:22 NIV84) Next, know God’s Word; as it is the best weapon we have at our disposal to fight with. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV84) It will guide us on what to do to get around the temptation and it will help us win the battle. Also, praise God and thank Him for the struggle (Ephesians 5:20 NIV84) because He uses all things for our own good, and to show His awesome grace and mercy (Romans 8:28 NIV84). Finally, for the extra reinforcement we need accountability. If you do not have an accountability partner, you need to have one. This is someone to whom you are accountable that will help you stay on the ‘straight and narrow’. (James 5:16 NIV84) For the times when we do reach out and take that ‘chocolate’ treat being offered to us; we are to confess, repent, and ask His forgiveness... ASAP!
Are there little things in your life that have the potential to lead to big temptations? Telling ourselves “Just one piece of cake cannot hurt that much” in a state of weakness can lead to gluttony. If food is your weakness, you must recognize it and be strong enough to say “No thanks” the next time someone offers you that extra treat. Just like saying “We are just chatting and flirting online. We are not hurting anyone” in a state of weakness can lead to adultery or sex outside marriage. If the opposite sex is your weakness, than you need to restrict yourself from situations that may be too much for you to handle. Or, maybe you look at your neighbour and think “I wish I had a house and a car like Jimmy”. This is envy. Next time you see someone with ‘better’ or more of something than you, count your blessings. No matter how much, or little, you have; there are those who have less than you do. Maybe, despite Jimmy’s ‘wonderful’ life; he is ‘up to his ears’ in debt, or he may be so lonely that he cries himself to sleep every night. The list of temptations is endless. What are yours? What is God asking you to do to head them off?
Just like my friend and I cannot resist cheesecake; I know there are things that you feel are irresistible as well. Turn to Jesus and ask Him to help. Do not listen to those lies by the enemy. Someone will indeed get hurt... you! Someone does know... God! He has already given us a way out of our struggle. We just have to listen to what He is telling us and follow Him.
I have been thinking. Cheesecake really should be a food group all on its own! I wonder if Canada’s Food Guide takes suggestions for future adjustments.
~~ Dear God ~~ I thank You for the path that You are leading me on; for the struggles that I battle with. They are the things that are helping me build my strength and my faith that are helping me to become more like Jesus. Please help me to always hear your voice and Your instructions when I am battling with temptations. Thank You for the options that You give me that help me avoid taking that extra piece of cheesecake or chocolate in my weakest moments. With each and every lie that the enemy whispers in my ear help me to remember the appropriate scripture verse from Your Word that will him. Thank You, Father, for the wonderful grace and mercy that You have given me, that I do not deserve. In Jesus name, AMEN.