Temptation requires that you make a choice. By definition it means to lure, entice, seduce, to pull. Therefore, every time you are faced with a temptation (of any kind) you are being asked to make a choice: follow where the temptation leads or head the other direction. There is always this moment of truth with each temptation.
Sometimes when I write about a topic it seems so simple in print. Temptations come, gotta make a choice, so choose what’s right. I suppose it is that simple, but it isn’t that easy. At least not in my life. The moment of truth often feels more like an all out raging war in my soul, the Spirit of God within me faithfully assuring me that His way is best while swirling demons of darkness sink their claws into the weakness that is my flesh. And all of this is happening in nanoseconds! But just because it may feel like a war (and I believe it is!) doesn’t lessen my responsibility to make a choice in the moment of truth.
Indecision is a faith killer. God expects us to respond to His gracious provisions in our lives. He gives us eternal life freely and permanently when we trust in Christ, but He also provides “everything we need for a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3) God doesn’t say that He gives us a godly life, but rather He gives us “everything we need” for a godly life. He expects us to respond in faith to that provision and “work out [our] salvation” (Phil. 2:12) so godliness can mature in us. This requires making choices in agreement with the truth, God’s Word. Indecision derails this maturing of faith.
This is where the grace of God comes in to help us get better and better at making right choices in the moment of truth.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age… (Titus 2:11-12)
It isn’t the Law that teaches us to resist temptation. It isn’t our good works that teach us. It isn’t our parents or family that teach us to say no. It is the grace of God that teaches us to say no to temptation. The unmerited favor of the Creator of all things; this is what guides us and instructs us and gives us what we need in the middle of the stormy wars of temptation. He whispers in that moment, “I have redeemed you from your bondage in darkness and sin to set you on a high place, free from guilt and shame. I love you with an unfailing love and nothing can separate you from Me, even this sinful temptation you are considering. I will never leave you nor forsake you. My best is for you to turn from this temptation and walk in the Light. Your best choice is Me.”
Even though temptation requires a choice, God is faithful to give us a way out – every time!
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13)
“…with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape.” God knows you will be tempted, and He is faithful to give you a way out. But you must choose. God provides the way out, but you must exercise faith to move through the exit door. When you do this over and over again with each temptation, your faith strengthens, your fear of being tempted lessens, and the grace of God is magnified.
Today you will face multiple moments of truth that will require you to make a choice. What will you choose? I suggest you choose Jesus…