Temptations. We all have temptations. Things that pull, blind, and deceive us into sin. Things that we have to be on guard against or we will fall.
Every human experiences temptation. My temptations are different from yours. And yours are different from your neighbor.
Some are obvious, some are hidden. Some are more common, some are not even called out as temptation and sin in our society.
How do we, as Christians, navigate temptation and sin?
Christ said in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I remember clearly the first time I gave into temptation. I beat my arm over and over with a knife until the blood was a stream down my arm. I felt relief for a moment. Temporary relief from the emotional and mental pain. Relief from the temptation.
When a person gives in to temptation over and over it becomes a habit. The relief feels good, but it is very short-lived. The act then needs to be carried out over and over again.
A knife was a temporary relief from my larger emotional and mental problem.
Cutting, again and again, was not healing. It was damaging me. Temptation and sin are like that. They seem good because they bring release from the pain. They temporary satisfy and calm. But the thing about temptation and sin is no matter how many times you do the thing it will never be enough. It will never quench the thirst deep within.
No matter how many cuts, no matter how many drinks, no matter how much sex, no matter how many cookies, no matter how much porn, no matter how many purchases they will never, ever be enough.
Things we find here in this life were never meant to be it, to be enough to satisfy. A relationship with Jesus is the only way to a life of satisfaction, hope, and joy.
Jesus died on the cross for all the cuts, drinks, sex, cookies, porn, purchases. Jesus bore it all on Himself. Carried it to the cross and died with the load. It was buried in the tomb. All of it, all the sin and temptation you face.
And He, Jesus Christ arose bringing new life. The old things are buried, dead in the grave. But a hope, a joy, a freedom is alive because Jesus arose. Jesus is alive.
Do you long to trust something greater than you, your sin and pain? Do you want a way out? There is! There is a way. No matter if you have identified yourself as a Christian or not. There is a way and a hope.
I was a cutter, anorexic, fearful person. But that is not who I am. That is not my identity. That is not my future or hope.
I have been redeemed. I have found freedom and peace in Christ. I have been given a new name: child of God!
John 1:12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. NLT
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. NLT
John 4:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. NIV