Links Daily Devotional

The Fight Against Temptation, Part 2

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10, NIV)

Yesterday we stared at the distant target from the middle of the fairway and wondered if the temptation to go for the water-guarded green would be worth the potential disaster.

It’s a fun question, for sure, but not all that important. Not like the really big temptations in life. Those temptations threaten to bring down not our golf round, but our relationships with God and those he has given us to love.

Yet let’s go one step further, for life doesn’t present us with big temptations all that often. What is more typical are small urges to give in. Eat a little bit of this, drink a little bit of that, watch just for a few minutes…

Do you recognize this to be more typical of your daily temptations? After all, we are free to eat and drink without raising questions of conscience (1 Corinthians 10:27). And we are allowed times of respite—what we might even call Sabbath. Still we know that while “all things are lawful, not all things are beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12). There are choices to be made between what we can do and what we should do.

Paul, the writer of the Corinthian letters, was no slouch. He told the believers in Corinth that their bodies were temples and that he “buffeted [his] body” in order to maintain spiritual health.

We spoke yesterday of our enemy, the devil, who has designs to separate us from God. He does this by luring us into sin and distraction. A sexual tryst will certainly keep you from prayer in those hours, but so will a round of golf, whether played on the course or watched on TV. In any case, Satan’s goal is achieved when we lose sight of God.

If those big temptations are confronted with perspective—where will this lead?—it can be more difficult to apply that strategy against smaller urges. It’s too easy to say, “It’s only a few calories extra,” or “It’ll only be for a few minutes.” But disciplined people recognize that big results come from small actions.

Jesus spoke of how we can anticipate a person’s faithfulness in big things by seeing how they do with small things. Have you proven yourself trustworthy in little? Then you can be trusted with more. The best practice for standing against big temptations is standing against little ones.

God gives us freedom. Satan tries to take it away by binding us with the chains of lesser things. Some are obviously bad, others not so much. But either, when surrendered to, can lead to a life separated from the excellent will of the one who truly loves us. That one is our heavenly Father. It is for his sake and his glory—and in his power—that we resist any temptation to step away from him.

Dereck Wong and Jeff Hopper
October 14, 2014
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