Temptation The Cookie Jar
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Dictionary.com defines temptation as “The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.”
When the word temptation comes to my mind, I usually add the word “resist” as an impulse tag along and resisting usually means you’re really trying to avoid doing something you’d really like to do. “Resisting Temptation” is a phrase with two literal, negative connotations. How do you even recognize one? I automatically jump to a metaphorical chubby toddler with their elbow deep in a cookie jar the mother specifically ordered him not to eat. How bad is it to think that we are all elbow deep?
What’s even more troubling is how easily we like to recognize other people’s “failed resistance” while we have our own personal struggle we cannot ignore. Temptation comes in so many forms… of course there’s the semi-bad kind, like when you succumb to the temptation of Chick-fil-a (I swear that place calls my name), but then the more serious types like lust, envy, hatred, and many more. As humans we all seem to have this horrible habitual sickness of allowing temptation to run rampant in our lives, physically and mentally. Temptation is not a battle easily won, but a foe that can be defeated.
There’s not a step-by-step easy manual explaining how to triumph over our individual “mind-lusts” but truly, the first step is recognizing what the problem is. Before I even started typing, my phone started ringing and the simple temptation to start texting infected my mind. I was slowly reaching into the cookie jar. How pointless a response of a text message is compared to have my daily time with God. I lusted after my phone in that split second just as much as an addict or an alcoholic would. The pattern remains. Our temptations separate us from the Glory of God. Sharing that secret who swore never to speak of, hovering over the crude internet pop-up, drinking just one last beer, ALL separate us just like the ringing phone.
But gosh has Satan mastered his art. Let’s pretend the cookies are no longer in the jar but steaming on a pan that just came out of the oven. You smell the sugar and can see the steam rolling off the dozen cookies. Your mom tells you not to touch as she leaves the room and you really did fight the good fight until you notice the glistening cocoa brown of the melted chocolate chip cookies.
Let’s pause. How could taking one cookie really be that bad? I mean it’s chocolate chip for goodness sakes! I think we all come to this reasoning when we are faced with temptation and then the devil eggs us on by making those cookies look better and your desire more desiring. You just won’t survive until you get your hands on those cookies. 99.9% of the time we recognize the error of our ways but can’t find it in ourselves to really care until we’ve already fallen back into the trap.
“-the spirit is willing but the mind is weak.”
Even though the end of Matthew 26:14 doesn’t offer much encouragement, we can find peace in the knowledge that even JESUS was tempted! God never said it would be easy to overcome temptation but he did promise…
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 10:13
We already have the power and the victory to say no, it’s just our decision on whether or not we will.