If you’re one of those impatient, self-important types who thinks your time is too valuable to go back and read Part 1, believing yourself bright enough to know what I’ve written leading up to this point, you shouldn’t be reading this in the first place. Go away. This will do you no good.
I find temptation just fine by myself. It makes more sense to me to stare my Danhood in the mirror and say, “Don’t you dare make it easy for me to play Slip ‘n’ Slide with temptation!”
An obvious question arises. HOW DO I NOT?
I asked God that question, and here’s what immediately popped into my mind:
“Find a way past the moment.”
God doesn’t treat me like I’m still in primary Sunday School class with Mrs. Tuning. Being God, He assumes my adulthood. I felt the silent “snick” as His wisdom and intimate and infinite knowledge of me told Him that was all I needed. I think He trusts me significantly more than I trust me. Okay. Find a way past what moment?
The trigger. The powerful moment when the temptation to indulge your pet weakness is smooth, delicious as fresh juicy watermelon, inviting you into its clutche– its embrace.
“Find a way past The Moment.”
IT can be anything. Screwtape cynically said that gambling is as effective as murder if gambling will do the trick. Money. Power. Control. Lust. Avarice. Fame. Anger. Victimhood. Perfectionism. Domination. Respect. Laziness. Judgmentalism. Dependence. Fear. Self-centeredness. Regret. Spending. The list is endless. I say again: IT can be anything you’ve made a habit.
And it always shows up with soft, half-lidded eyes, comfortable, engaging and friendly. Leaning against the door in faded jeans and an old flannel shirt, a sprig of no-biggie stuck in its mouth. It looks and sounds like everything but what it is: the distraction Satan knows will keep you from going through that door to whatever God has for you.
A task. An encounter with a hurting, needful friend. Somebody you’ve never met whom God needs to show His love and caring nature. An idea for a presentation, a picture, an essay, a craft, a product, a report. A meeting with an unknown mentor through whom God wants to further teach you. Being at your best for a coworker whose life lays in shards all over the cement basement of their dreams. Whatever good, worthwhile thing is just beyond that open door, it is there to see you dulled and distracted so you don’t walk on through – and if you do finally get through, you’re not giving your best to anyone or anything but it.
IT won’t hang around when you focus on God. How good He’s been to you. How often He’s come through when it seemed nothing was happening for which you hoped, prayed and believed would happen. Sing about Him. Talk with Him. Thank and praise Him for His track record, which is flawless. Keep your quiet time date with the Holy Spirit each morning.
IT wants nothing to do with your combative attitude. Trying to be passive and sort of slide past it never works. See IT as the sinister threat to your spirit that it is: IT is there to take you out if you allow it. Turn directly into the threat and advance. Don’t hesitate. Face IT head-on, and walk through the door for whatever God has for you to be doing and being today. The more you do this, the fainter IT becomes. I read this sentence recently that nails the true ugliness of what IT is:
“It hung there, twisting from the tree in the dark of night . . .” No matter what Satan the Adversary tries to fool you into thinking, IT was nailed to the Cross along with everything else.
See, the Cross of Christ gave you and me the Option. Suddenly we both have a choice, where once all we had was no chance. Yeah, friend. You do not have to give in or give up. Resurrection power gives 1 Corinthians 10:13 its punch, its grip. Read it in as many different Bible translations as you can. Memorize it until you can rattle it off like a military vet does his or her service number.
I leave you with these thoughts, friend. They’re reflections from my own soul’s scrapes with my ITs across the years. I’m 63 and capable. If there were a way to co-opt the ITs in my life, I’d have figured it out by now and had them organized by color, style and purpose.
It was my sin that caused the need for Christ to become my salvation. It wasn’t my misunderstandings, mistakes or my momentary lapses in judgement.
Wanting all the cloying, disagreeable rules to go away because I didn’t like them and they cramped my style was to buy a first-class ticket on a trainwreck.
Ever notice the grating difference between the exhilaration of demanding your own way and the embarrassing consequences of actually getting it?
Thus ends Part II. I’ve poured a little of my own sweaty, praying night hours into this in hopes you’ll take it to heart before your IT has you so constantly distracted and spiritually numb you’re no use to God and no real influence on those around you needing Him.
What you do with IT is up to you.
I love you and I believe in you.
© D. Dean Boone, June 2016