Wisdom shouts to us from the street, yet sin beckons to us from the shadows. It is the proverbial angel and devil on our shoulders.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech ; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life ; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.
There are many, many things that tempt us as Christians. Christ himself was tempted by none other than the Devil. I heard it said recently that men in particular are plagued by the four “S’s.” Silver (money), Status, Sex, and Sloth.
The pull of the World and our sinful flesh is strong and dangerous. It can seem harmless and fun in the beginning but the end always leads to pain and death. Interestingly the Devil likes to use good things in evil ways. Things that are wonderful in the right context are distorted and corrupted by the temptress.
Temptation can be found in just about anything earthly. Food is wonderful, but it can turn to obsession (either the indulgence of it or the neglect of it). Sex in the context of marriage (when used to promote love and unity) is a wonderful, amazing thing that is to be celebrated. Yet somehow the World has found countless ways to rip it to shreds to the point where the whole topic seems taboo. Money can be used for many wonderful things (and it sure beats the barter system), but “the love of it” is also “the root of all kinds of evil” (notice I didn’t use the common misquote of “money is the root of all evil”). Even “Christian” things like leadership, ministry, and attending church can turn into idols that we worship instead of Christ.
The answer to all of this is simple but oddly elusive. How do you fight temptation? We’ve had the answer to this since Sunday school as children. Read the Bible. Pray to God. Trust in Jesus. When he was tempted in the wilderness, Christ quoted scripture. This isn’t rocket science but maybe because it is so simple, we forget and neglect these basic foundations of our faith. We look for the newest gimmick or trick that will magically cure us of all our temptations. Yet the most magical gift of all has always been the Holy Spirit moving in us and giving us the power of the Lord most high in our humble, broken bodies.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.