THE VALUE OF TEMPTATION

fish-jumping-on-hookAs I walked into the jail the thought came to me “I have His word hidden in my heart” and it made me smile. Each opportunity I get to go to the jail is not taken lightly. I realize this may be the only chance these ladies will hear the love of Jesus. I never want an opportunity like this to pass them by. At the same time, it’s not me who is going to get them saved. That’s Jesus’ job and He draws all people to Him through the Holy Spirit. My job is to listen to the Holy Spirit and be open to what He is doing. He doesn’t keep it a secret from me because He lives inside me, and I am the vessel He works through.

I asked the ladies in orange “Who has trouble with temptation?” I think they all raised their hand, I know I did. We all face temptation of some sort, our whole life. It may not be the same temptation, but we are tempted, it doesn’t matter how old you are. There was a time when I was tempted to start smoking cigarettes even after I hadn’t had one for a few days. I realized that was all it was, a temptation, and I didn’t have to heed to it. I knew that God was keeping me safe and He is still keeping me.

It says in Luke 4:1-13 that Jesus was led into the dessert to be tempted by the devil. What makes us think we will get away without being tempted as well? We know it’s not by God we are tempted because the Bible tells us that in James 1:12-15. But it does say in 1 Cor 10:13 that temptation is common to man. What this is saying to me is that we are meant to be tempted. James says in the first chapter; “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” When we feel there is a lack in our life, we are tempted to fill it. If we started trusting what the Bible says that we are full, whole, perfect and lacking nothing in Jesus, we may start seeing joy, wisdom and victory while we are still on this earth.

Furthermore, the temptation is meant to press us into Christ. It’s a constant push in His direction so He can produce fruit in our life. If we never had a trial or hardship, we wouldn’t have a reason to cry out to Him. It’s possible for the temptation to work the other way around though. In James 1: 15 we read, “Then, when lust is conceived (thought) it gives birth (action) to sin and when sin is accomplished, (afterwards) it brings forth death (condemnation).” Can you see the progression? It’s starts out with being carried away, enticed by our own lusts. Most people learn after a while not to do a certain thing, because the result is always the same. Some people take longer to learn the lesson than others. I pray you are one of the ones who learn the first time.

There were a couple of ladies who wanted to get together and talk. I took “Bucky” first. She always has questions about whether she is doing something right or wrong. I suggested she worry about if it is producing life or death in her. It matters how we behave and who we are listening to, and Bucky is so in love with Jesus and wants Him to shine through her. She messed up this week and feels like she lost a whole year of good behavior. I told her God doesn’t work like a drug program and that His grace and mercy is enough.

The other lady is Princess and there was no consoling her it seemed. She knows who Jesus is in her life and she trusts Him for her outcome, but she is struggling with being in jail, not seeing her 5 children and it taking so long to get into the rehab which is her ticket home. She says it has been 3 weeks too long. I prayed with her and spoke hope to her. She left there a little more focused on Jesus and less on her living arrangements.

God has a plan, and those plans will have some temptation in it, but the good news is that it gives us another opportunity for faith.

Tracey

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