When you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. James 1:13-14 NLT
Some things just won’t go away no matter how much I swat at them.
Across the corn fields from my grandparents’ farm sat two sets of chicken houses. Thousands of chickens made their home there and laid eggs for buyers. And millions of flies hung around them—and my grandparents’ house.
Since my grandparents’ home wasn’t air-conditioned, keeping the flies from entering small holes in the screen door and screened windows challenged my grandmother. My grandfather, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind. While my cousin and I swarmed over the porch swatting as many flies as we could, our grandfather sat in a chair and enjoyed looking over his fields, gazing at his hogs, and watching the sunrise. Flies lit all over him and buzzed around his head. Rarely did he swat at them with the flyswatter or shoo them away with his hand. He merely enjoyed life.
James didn’t mention any particular pesterers—just that when I’m pestered in the form of temptation it doesn’t come from God. God can’t be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone to do evil. Trials and tribulation are another story. I like to think Satan brings the pestering—and he certainly works through it—but the problem is inside me. My sinful desires pull me in the wrong direction.
What pesters me varies from day to day: traffic, someone’s negativity, another’s pessimism, long lines at the grocery or retail store, a co-worker’s attitude, finances, unruly children, helicopter parents. Learning to respond as my grandfather did to the flies helps. If the things pestering me are just aggravating and not sinful, I can let them buzz around, ignoring them for the most part. Most of the time, they’ll go away or work themselves out. Like flies that retreat at night.
If my pesterers carry the potential for sin, I need a different reaction. Ignoring the pesterer won’t work, nor will trying to rationalize a sinful decision. I must arm myself with the swatter and drive the pesterer away. And this I do by praying, reciting Bible verses, changing locations, changing my thinking, and putting on the defensive armor God gives.
Pesterers can steal our joy and lead us into sin if we’re not careful, but God gives the power to overcome our irritants. Depend on Him to show you the action you need to take.
Tweetable: How do you face your pesterers?
Prayer: Father, when the pesterers come, give us courage and wisdom to respond appropriately.