Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Kum Ba Yah My Lord"1 (Lyrics)
James 1:14 – Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. (NLT)
The humungous concrete trough begged us to place our parched toes in its tantalizing coolness.
Life on the farm was different every day. My cousin and I could find more adventures to take than we had time for. On this one day, we sat around thinking about what we could do. Where we sat was on a ledge just above a concrete trough filled with green water.
Running around barefooted wasn't uncommon. Why not plunge our dirty, parched feet into this water? We did. Within a few days, I noticed a circle on my foot. When I showed it to Mom, she immediately took me to the doctor, who froze it. The stagnant water had delivered a ringworm.
While the freezing process was somewhat unpleasant, this infestation wasn't nearly as deadly as the one that James speaks of in today's verse. The sinful nature that we're born with leads us into temptations of various types and degrees, and drags us into sinful activities and thoughts. Of course, Satan and his demonic hordes are involved, but we don't really need any help being bad.
Satan, however, often provides the stagnant water that draws our attention into areas that we should avoid. With Eve, it was fruit from the one tree that God had told her and Adam to leave alone. For King Saul, it was a jealous spirit. With David, it was sexual lust. For the religious leaders of Jesus' day, it was power and an attitude of spiritual superiority.
God, however, provides the strength that we need to freeze out a pattern of sinful activity. We must put forth the effort. We know our nature and what our weaknesses are. Satan learns them and uses them to his advantage. When we live with a desire for holiness and purity, we'll make a valid attempt to stay away from people and situations that we know will pull us down and entice us to sin.
Even as a young boy, I probably had better sense than to put my feet in stagnant water — but I did it anyway. When we're determined to live a holy lifestyle, we'll learn to depend on God to give us direction and stop us from putting our feet — and eyes and hands — where they don't belong.
Are you allowing God to help you freeze out temptation?
Prayer: Father, remind us that You will never let us be tempted beyond what we're able to bear with Your help. Amen.