Today I’m thinking about a familiar thing to all of us – temptation. I love it when someone offers me a different point of view on something I thought I knew everything about. Not that I know everything about temptation – of course I experience it, just like any human does – but I pretty much always thought of it as a bad thing that makes you want to do a bad thing. Then I read a devotion written by one of my favorite teachers, and he said this: “Temptation is simply an enticement to take a God-given desire beyond God-given boundaries.” (Charles Stanley, from his InTouch Devotion for 7/7/16) Wait a second.. what? Temptation comes from a God given desire? It just looked wrong when I read it. Then I thought about it. What are people tempted by? Power. Food. Money. Sex. Being known or famous. Material possessions. I thought about it for a minute and I couldn’t come up with any temptation that came from anything except something that God gave us. It’s not Him, but us, with our messed up human nature, that takes these wonderful things like relationships, food, intimacy, resources, and influence and takes them way too far.
Thinking about temptation in this way showed me 2 things:
- God’s boundaries really mean something, because He’s the one who created the desire. It makes sense, right? The designer of a computer knows how much it can process before it crashes. The designer of a watch knows how deep it can go underwater before it drowns. The instruction manuals aren’t there to be mean to the computer or the watch or to keep them from having a good time, they are there to protect them. God’s boundaries are there to protect us. He knows that His good gifts can be used to enhance our lives, but they can also be used to destroy us if we take them too far.
- When I’m tempted, there’s something I can immediately do: I can recognize the God given desire that I am tempted to take too far, and I can turn to Him. I can ask Him to remind me what He designed this desire for, and in the process of doing that, I’ve looked away from the temptation and back in the right direction.
None of us are perfect. We are all works in progress! I’m so thankful we have someone perfect to follow.
NGEN/Houston PD & CMB Gold Member