James 1:13-15 – When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (NIV)
My son loved to swim. He was always at the pool and had passed all his swimming badges at a very early age. Swimming was an adventure, it was cool, it was fun, until one day when it almost came to a deadly halt.
Chris had been carrying on an animated discussion with a fellow swimmer, when suddenly, he stepped away from his pal and dove into the deep end of the pool. I was not the least bit concerned as I knew the proficiency of his skills. Thus, I continued chatting with other swim moms until I suddenly realized that something unexpected was happening. Chris's friend now appeared frantic as he shook the instructor's arm and pointed at the deep end of the pool. What's going on? I wondered, and then, it hit me. I couldn't spot Chris in the water.
With a splash, the lifeguard entered the pool. I stood rooted to the spot. The second hand on the pool clock ticked away, 10, 20, 30, and still no sign of emerging heads from the deeps. My heart began to constrict as my breath stilled, and my lungs ached for the air that I longed to pass on to my boy.
Finally, up popped Chris's head, quickly followed by the guard, who, upon climbing out of the pool, gave him the kind of verbal dressing-down which only stems from a combination of abject terror and relief all at the same time.
So what had happened? Chris, always a daredevil, had accepted a bet from his pal, who dared him to swim to the bottom of the pool and see if his finger would fit into one of the holes in the drainage system. You guessed it. The finger slipped in easily enough but not back out.
How often are we, as God's children, tempted to stick our finger into things where they simply don't belong? How often do we get ourselves into a situation or a crisis of faith because we have chosen to accept temptation's bet and dared to disobey God, thinking that we can get away with it? How often? Probably far more often than any one of us dares to admit!
Yes, temptation comes to all of us, but when it comes, as James has written:
James 4:7-8a,10 – 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. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (NIV)
Yes, indeed, He will lift us up out of the dark waters of temptation into the light and life of victory in Christ.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that we have power in Christ over temptation. Bless us this day with humble hearts that draw nigh unto You and Your goodness, light, and love. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Children Of Jerusalem" (Lyrics)