I’ve been learning about temptation lately. It was the topic at Bible study last month and the tools I got there were too impactful to forget; I’ve been using them daily. What stuck out the most? These little notebooks we decorated and entitled “The Anatomy of Temptation.”
Grandma Edie (our leader/unofficial grandma/awesome lady) gave us the main points, and together we sort of brainstormed the various pages between, like a flip book. I would love to share it with you; it’s intense and eye-opening to me:
- You have an unsatisfied hunger/longing in your heart. Acceptance. Being heard. Someone who cares. To feel loved. Value. Success. Anything, really…
- The enemy sends you a temptation to fill that unmet need/want in the wrong way. He preys on your feelings. He loves to send you an ungodly guy [or girl] to confuse you, to make you think, “This is better than what I have.” He wants you to be all about the quick fix.
- The enemy whispers that this will give you something you lack. He says, “This will ease the pain…”; he says, “This will solve your problems.”
- You have no chance of resisting– without Christ. He knows what it’s like! He is the only one who can fully resist. He’ll help you! He will fulfill your desires in the best way– HIS way, in His perfect timing.
After I got home from Bible study the next day, I decided to create a second section in my notebook. I called it “Fighting Temptation”, and every night I would dedicate a page to record and comment on the temptations I faced during my day. I thought it was a great idea– until I actually started doing it and I had to own up to all the ugliness I faced every single day. It doesn’t give me a chance to even think I’m doing nothing wrong; I see daily that I need Jesus incredibly close to me, or else I’ll get stuck in something. I’m forced to analyze my thoughts and decisions. I see patterns in what tempts me the most. I see the things that are usually the reasons I give in. When I don’t want to write an entry, I know I’ve messed up. It holds me accountable. And you know what? I am so thankful for my little book.
Sometimes after I write the day’s entry, I look back at the first half of the book and review the anatomy of temptation; it reminds me that willingly giving in to temptation means I’m willingly obeying the enemy. That is TERRIFYING! Why would I ever want to do that when I am on the Lord’s side? If I’m His bride, how can I betray Him?
Last night my devotions were in Numbers 5. In verses 11-31 are instructions for Old Testament priests concerning adultery; they stuck out to me. You can read the whole thing if you want, but the gist? If a man suspected that his wife had cheated on him, he would take her to the priest. The priest, with a bowl of holy water and a little dust from the ground of the tabernacle, would lead the woman in an oath; this oath basically said that if she was faithful to her husband, she would be safe– but if she was not, the water would curse her with great stomach pains and barrenness. The priest then wrote the curse down, washed the ink away in the water, and had the woman drink it. Her deeds would soon be evident depending on the effect of the water. As I read these instructions, I heard: “Would you be willing to drink the water right now?”
If Jesus played by these rules, I would be cursed countless times. He is right to call me an unfaithful bride; He knows how easily I’m led astray from His heart. YET– everywhere in the Bible that mentions us as an unfaithful bride, the ending is always along the lines of, “I will love you despite that.” He doesn’t curse me; He purifies me, forgives me, leads me to the right path, STAYS WITH ME. And why would I devalue that in my heart? Why would I ever want to run from that? The next time I am tempted, by anything, I will ask myself: “Would you be willing to drink cursed water after this? Why do you want to leave Him who truly loves you?”
We run. But He runs, too, chasing us. We cannot escape His love.
(Listen to the full song here!)