Do you have an area in your life that you need to overcome temptation? It might be a big or small, but the temptation is like a pebble in the shoe rubbing us the wrong way or can smell as delicious as cinnamon rolls in the oven. Either way, we notice it and soon it can derail us from going forward. The little pebble causes a blister that becomes sore and irritating. The scent of the cinnamon rolls tempts us to eat more treats than we should.
Why do I choose these two images? Recently they each provided temptation to me while at Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. Although I don’t do rides any more, Rick loves roller coasters. He finds it invigorating being tossed upside down at 68 miles per hour on Outlaw Run, comes off the ride with a huge smile, and is ready to go again. Such a ride leaves me dizzy with a headache for the rest of the day, so I choose to wait for him.
While walking around the hills of the theme park, a piece of gravel lodged in my shoe. At first I tried to ignore it by shaking my foot to shift the rock where it wouldn’t irritate me. It moved around from my toes to my heel. Soon, all I could think about was the stone causing a limp. It felt like a boulder under my foot, rubbing a blister. When I stopped and removed it, a tiny pebble fell out of my sneaker. Once dislodged, I enjoyed walking the rest of the day.
Temptations are like that; we think we can easily manage them. But in reality, they have our attention until dealt with and removed.
Near the entrance to the park is Eva & Delilah’s Bakery where the aromas of fresh pastries fill the air. This is a great strategy, having the inviting scent when people enter or leave the park. I wanted to stop at the beginning of the day and at the end. My husband nudged me away, whispering something about our commitment to healthy eating.
One treat I reserve for special places like Silver Dollar City is indulging in a funnel cake—deep-fried batter drizzled with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, and strawberries. I’d settle for one with just powdered sugar. However, this time I had decided to avoid the delectable treat because I knew I’d have annual lab work done in a few days.
Even though I told myself I did not want a funnel cake, many times the temptation popped up in front of me. While I waited on a bench for Rick to ride a roller coaster, a family sat next to me with a funnel cake to share amongst them.
The youngest boy, about five years old, kept saying “Mmm, this is good!”
Eventually he sat next to me. It was all I could do to not ask for a bite! I didn’t, but I did move on to a different spot, choosing victory over temptation.
Later we attended a show in the open-air ampitheater; the first thing mentioned by the host was the location of the food vendors—and of course, the funnel cakes. I looked the other way, trying not to drool. And then, to make matters worse, a lady sat next to me with….a fresh funnel cake! The aroma wafted my direction, tempting me. Again I wanted to ask for a bite, just a small bite.
Rick whispered, “Be strong.”
I braced myself, sat up straighter, and turned away.
Later we left the park, steering clear of any deep-fried treats.
Whether it’s a pebble or a funnel cake, these illustrate the power of temptation. They capture our attention in subtle ways. Dangerous temptations—like overeating, alcohol, pornography, gambling—can grow and become destructive, possibly ruining families or careers.
[bctt tweet=”It takes more than personal determination to deal with temptation; it takes depending on the Lord.”]
Five Verses to Overcome Temptation:
- “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
- “On reaching the place, he (Jesus) said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” “Luke 22:40
- “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:4
- “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”James 4:7-8
- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
Whether large or small, be aware of the temptations that affect you. Look to the Lord and His strength to deal with those things that allure you. His grace is sufficient for the moment.
One last thing—my lab results came back with lower cholesterol, which made my victory over the funnel cake even sweeter.