Temptation is a funny thing; it’s all around us, and takes a myriad of forms. Some things may tempt one person to stumble; while another may take no notice of it at all… yes it’s a funny thing. OK, I’ll confess right now, potato chips are my downfall! At my house an open bag is an empty bag; they own me… I just cannot possibly say no when they call my name; woe is me, for Satan has my number!
Obviously, the only thing I said about potato chips that is actually true is that I really like them and eat more than I should; the rest is nonsense, purely a justification to deflect my own irresponsible choice to eat too many of them. Could I walk right by and not have any? Yes, but I usually don’t. Could I eat one or two and then stop? Yes, but I usually don’t. Is there anyone else to blame for this? No, not on your life; it’s all me.
Well, there is temptation in a nutshell.
To be clear and fair, I understand that there are medical conditions that affect some people in one way or another; I am not including that possibility in my remarks here; that is different topic entirely, so let’s understand that I am not talking to people with medical, addiction or mental health problems in this post. Got it?
For most of us, when we fall into temptation, it was all our own doing; it was not necessary, and when we are honest with ourselves, we know that to be true.
With that said, then what is temptation really?
It is being presented with a choice to do or not do something that can harm us and/or our relationship with God. Yes, there are some lengthy systematic theologies on temptation, but when you sift out all of the unnecessary words, it comes down to making a choice, and no one is forcing us to choose the wrong one. We can blame this whole dilemma on the devil or this fallen world or anything you want, but temptation was present in the Garden of Eden when Man lived in perfect fellowship with God in a pre-fallen state, and Man made the wrong choice in spite of everything. Yes, the serpent was involved, but if he pointed a gun at Adam and Eve, that detail was omitted from the text.
No sir! Temptation is a consequence of free will.
God made us in His image, and one of the attributes that we have in common with God is free will. How do we use our free will to glorify God? Let’s go back to Genesis 3…
There are two trees that stood together in the center of the Garden; look, there’s Eve and the serpent having their little chat: The serpent asks the first question, Eve responds correctly. The serpent responds with a bald-faced lie. Eve hesitates, tempted, looks at the forbidden fruit; it looks really good, then she remembers who and what she is, and then she… grabs the yummy fruit from the Tree of Life takes a big bite, smacks her lips and says,”Hit the road Jack!” And God is glorified.
OK, here’s one last question: Who told you that you can’t do that?
Boy, would I love to hear your thoughts!