What to do with the Fire of Temptation
When our home catches fire, we call 911 for help. We may quickly assess, but when we realize it is taking over, there is no delay in our response. There is no sitting on it. Pondering it. Wrestling with it. Yet, when temptation starts to grip our hearts and minds, we may treat them as a favored pet, letting our mind race back to it with mental and emotional attention.
We find such hidden pleasure in the introduction to the alluring temptation, we might even begin to doubt God, saying to ourselves, “He must not know what He is talking about, this seems so good. How can He call this thing ‘bad’?”
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” – Isaiah 5:20-21 NKJV
This is the curling of the flame up long, hanging curtains of our layered thought and rationalization. Each small thought a simple, seemingly innocent match catching onto the soft, delicate, and flammable bedding of our hearts.
This is the emergency of the heart and soul; the foot about to be placed on the wrong track. It happens to each of us, my friend.
In these moments, sometimes temptation is so strong we feel powerless to do anything but what the sirens’ song is calling us to do. Yet, surely it is death wrapped in beauty, poison hidden in the momentary gourmet, a snare for the soul laid beyond the bush and bait.
So, what do we do with temptation?
Surprisingly, Hebrews 5:15-16 NKJV says when we are tempted we should approach God “boldly”.
Boldly? Approach God “boldly” with a shameful thought? Yes, and quickly, too.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV
With this verse, there is no hiding anymore, when a shameful thought catches our attention. There are no fires of heart and thought that can’t be put out with God’s grace. Only mercy, help, attention, compassion, grace, and new strength when we are terribly weak.
Sometimes we must ask and then wait helplessly, while the fires still burn, for the first responders of God’s washing provision to help us. But, He is always faithful to provide a door out of the flaming house. It may not seem as though it is there and, very well, our prayers may help create it or, in the very least, open our eyes to seeing it.
More Helpful Verses
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” – I Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.” - Psalm 40:11-13 NIV
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV
“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” – Psalm 62:11-12 NIV