Sometimes our thoughts and feelings shock us. “How could that cross my mind?” or “How could I feel that strong of a lust?” Fear not; we might experience any imaginable thought or feeling, and we walk through easily in faith unless we tangle ourselves in condemnation. But the real secret, James tells us, is, “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (1:14). The emphasis is not on bodily appetites, but lust that demands its own way. The real temptation is not the soul or body avenue of the temptation, but the temptation to self-will that conceives by saying, “I will take that for myself, regardless.”

Temptation is also a matter of, “Will I wear down or will I eventually give in?” Temptation is about endurance as much as anything else. That’s why the only thing that works is the moment-by-moment faith that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and is keeping us. God’s greatest purpose with us in temptation is not about the temptation, but His keeping of us.

Acceptance of temptation goes a long way toward serenity. We live tempted. Not to recognize this means that we still long for a “La-La life” not offered in the Scriptures. Faith considers temptations and trials all joy and as everyday occurrences, understanding that God encourages us on to endurance as He provides an escape hatch, custom made for every situation. The ultimate escape hatch I’ve discovered is the one that says, “Lord, I will commit any sin unless You keep me, and thank You that You are keeping me!”

Excerpt from “Did you ever think of this?” by Brian Coatney


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