“If I were God, I’d be done with me,” I jokingly commented to a friend the other day. But the sentiment is true. There are things in my life I just can’t seem to shake. Old habits die hard and all that. I’ve had countless conversations with close friends about what needs to change (not to mention even more with the Lord) and despite my best efforts, certain thought patterns and a bent towards sin continues to creep into my life.
What’s your thing? The thing that you can’t seem to shake? The thing you know isn’t what God wants for you but that feels almost second nature? Maybe it’s a thought pattern, an emotion, a habit, or a relationship. It’s the thing that triggers you, beckoning you to choose something other than God. It’s sin. And the pull is strong. But we serve a God who is stronger. A God who sees us. A God who knows our deepest secrets and desires. Who knows our bent toward sin and the places that trip us up the most. And He loves us anyways. He is never done with us, but He does call us to more, toward a life that reflects His truth and His way. The best part is, God gives us everything we need to overcome temptation. In fact, He gave us Jesus–the Son of God who empathizes with us and understands exactly what we are going through. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us that Jesus “has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
The Bible is filled with other verses that show us how God helps us when we are tempted.
1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Ephesians 6:10-11: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
James 1:13-14: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Hebrews 2:18: Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
1 John 4:4: You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Psalm 119:11: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Thank you for understanding my temptations and rather than holding it against me, promising to help me. Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit to strengthen me and give me wisdom. When I am tempted to sin, make “the way out” so obvious to me, and strengthen my desire to choose Your way over mine. Help me to “walk by the Spirit, so that I will not gratify the desires of my flesh” (Galatians 5:16). I love you and I trust you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.