The humongous concrete trough begged us to place our parched toes in its tantalizing coolness.
Life on the farm was different every day. My cousin and I could find more adventures to take than we had time for. On this particular day, we were sitting around thinking about what we could do. Where we sat was on a ledge just above a concrete trough filled with green water.
Running around barefooted wasn’t uncommon. Why not plunge our dirty, parched feet into this water? We did. Within a few days, I noticed a circle on my foot. When I showed it to Mom, she immediately took me to the doctor who froze it. The stagnant water had produced ringworm.
While the freezing process was somewhat unpleasant, this infestation wasn’t nearly as deadly as the one James speaks of. The sinful nature I’m born with leads me into temptations of various types and degrees and drags me into sinful activities and thoughts. Of course, Satan and his demonic hordes are involved, but I don’t really need any help being bad.
Satan, however, often provides the stagnant water that draws my attention into areas I should avoid. With Eve, it was fruit from the one tree God told her and Adam to leave alone. For King Saul, it was a jealous spirit. With David, it was sexual lust. For the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, it was power and an attitude of spiritual superiority.
God, however, provides the strength I need to freeze out a pattern of sinful activity. I must put forth the effort. I know my nature and what my weaknesses are. Satan learns them and uses them to his advantage. When I live with a desire for holiness and purity, I’ll make a valid attempt to stay away from people and situations I know will pull me down and entice me to sin.
Even as a young boy, I probably had better sense than to put my feet in stagnant water—but I did it anyway. When I’m determined to live a holy lifestyle, I’ll learn to depend on God to give me direction and stop me from putting my feet—and eyes and hands, where they don’t belong.
Are you allowing God to help you freeze out temptation?
Prayer: Father, remind us You will never let us be tempted beyond what we’re able to bear with Your help.
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