Last Friday, the "God's Daily Promises" email I receive asked the question "How do you avoid temptation?". It quoted this scripture: "She came and grabbed him by his shirt, demanding, 'Sleep with me!' Joseph tore himself away." Genesis 39:12 NLT.
Sunday's message? It was from this very same section of scripture, regarding temptation, standing firm even when no one is watching, and God providing a way of escape.
Just a hour or so later on Sunday afternoon, I was helping to provide a service for residents of a physical rehabilitation facility and once again, in the course of the message, temptation and a way out was referenced.
The icing on the cake was my devotional on Monday from "Jesus Calling" which said in part..."Keep your eyes on Me! Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up. As your cicumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. That devotional was taken in part from I Corinthians 10:13 which says: "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."
It's always been my observation that when a 'theme' crosses my path, two, three, four times, esepcially in a short period of time, there's a message God wants me to take hold of. As I come to the close of this 29 day fast, I can't help but think that the message is 'you'll be tempted out there...tempted to fall back into idolatrous patterns...but stand firm. There is a way of escape. The past 4 weeks you've had the strength to resist because you centered your focus on Me. The path on the other side of this fast is no different. Keep your eyes on me. I am faithful. I am with you always. I am your way of escape.'
So, when March 1st comes around, how will I be different? What discoveries have I made that will impact my walk going forward? Here are just a few...
- I've learned some of my temptation triggers. It is easier to avoid temptation than resist in the midst of it, so I need to practice being aware of where I am and what I'm doing.
- More temptations compete for my attention than I realized. It is easy to lose focus and I do NOT have the strength to do this under my own power. I need God's power to stand firm.
- I can only possess that power and use it fully when I am engaged with Him. A regular time to meet with Him, talk, listen and absorb His Word is imperative and I will guard it fiercely.