Saturday, February 5, 2022

Tempted and Tried - Martin Wiles

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. Matthew 25:14 NLT

Her downfall is her sweet tooth.

Our Chihuahua/Terrier mix has loved trash cans since she was a puppy. And getting into them and tearing up their contents is one habit I’ve not been able to break her of. I’ve spanked her, rubbed her nose in the mess, put her outside, and shut her in her kennel. Nothing works. So, my wife and I have adjusted.

When we leave the house, either we cover up the one trash can our little pup loves to play in, or we put it out of her reach. We also shut the bedroom doors so she cannot plunder in the trash cans in those rooms.

For a while, things went well. We left, she stayed in my recliner, and she kept away from the trash cans. Then one weekend, we took a short trip to Savannah, Georgia, with some friends. A neighbor let our little trash eater out several times during the day and put her in her kennel at night.

When I walked into the house after our trip, I immediately saw trash on the hallway floor. I followed the trail into our spare bedroom. Several sucker wrappers littered the floor—along with the empty sticks. One other candy wrapper lay to the side. Now, where did she get this from, I wondered.

I didn’t have to look far. Beside the couch, my wife had placed an uncovered jar of candy, suckers included. Our little sweet tooth pooch had helped herself. Now, we not only must cover the trash cans, but we also must move the candy jar. Temptation gets the best of her. She knows she has done wrong, but she keeps doing it anyway.

Jesus tells the story of a master who leaves on a journey but first calls together several of his servants and entrusts them with talents for them to use while he is away. Two did well, but one was tempted to do nothing while his master was away—and that’s exactly what he did.

Temptation is a part of the believer’s journey. It’s been around since Eve fell to the wiles of Satan thousands of years ago. Satan even used his evil dealings on Jesus in the wilderness. I suppose the one servant thought his master would not see him doing nothing, but when we think no one is looking, God always is. He sees and hears all, even the sinful thoughts deep inside our hearts.

But we don’t have to fall into temptation. God gives us spiritual armor to adorn which repels the fiery tempting darts of Satan, armor that guards our minds and bodies. He also promises not to let the temptations get so intense that we can’t walk away. Like Jesus, all we must do is trust God to show us the way out.

Doing what the two faithful servants did also helps us avoid temptation: they got busy. Putting our minds on God’s work takes away some of Satan’s opportunities to tempt us. As the adage reminds us, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

When temptation comes, trust God to show you the way out.

Prayer: Father, give us strength to overcome the temptations of our enemy. 

Tweetable: What temptations try you? 

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