“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 (1 Corinthians 10:13).”
I shouldn’t have done it, but the minute I saw that delicious, mouthwatering caramel cake in the grocery store, I just couldn’t resist. I told myself I would have one thin slice, and the kids and hubby could take care of the rest. So, I placed it into my shopping cart, and took it home with me. That night, I had one not-so-thin slice. The next day, I had a couple of slices. I was out of control. I had been doing so well eating less, and healthier, exercising, and losing weight. I’ve lost 25 pounds, and I feel a lot better. But, as soon as I brought that cake home, I sabotaged myself! I have an extreme weakness for cake. Always have. After my three-day binge on caramel cake, I finally threw the rest out!
I had not stepped on my bathroom scale for three days! I didn’t want to know. I knew I would feel extremely guilty when I saw what it had to say. But, I knew I had to do it. I got back on the scale to assess the damage. The guilt hit me full force, and I was determined to get right back to my healthy eating plan that very day.
We do the very same things in our spiritual lives. Sometimes we will allow ourselves to be around the very things we are most tempted by. We might hang out with a friend who loves to gossip, and before we know it, we are caught up in the middle of everyone’s business.
Or maybe we allow unhealthy TV programs to be streamed into our house. We start watching something, and get really interested, and before we know it there’s swearing, and all kinds of things we wouldn’t normally watch. We try to say, Well, it doesn’t have ‘that much’ swearing in it, and it’s almost over anyway.” We ignore that still, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that says, “You really shouldn’t be watching this.” As soon as the show is over, or as soon as the gossiping has stopped, we immediately feel guilty.
Then because of our guilt, we don’t want to spend time in the Bible, or pray. We know that when we open the Bible, we are going to be convicted. We will be face to face with God’s holiness, and we’ll feel pretty lousy. But this is the most important time to pray and get back into the Bible. We can ask God to forgive us, and move forward. If we neglect the truth, we won’t have the desire to change. After I had eaten that cake, I really didn’t want to get back on the scale.
But if I hadn’t, and had continued to ignore the scale, I wouldn’t have seen the need to get back on track! If I continued to buy caramel cakes at the grocery store and ate them every week, pretty soon the 25 pounds plus a lot more would be back on my body! Then I would not only be carrying a lot more guilt, but I would also be carrying a lot more weight. I might even get to the point where I just completely gave up on losing weight.
In our spiritual walk we also have to make the decision to pray and get back into the Bible after we mess up. If we don’t, pretty soon that self-made wall of guilt separating us from God seems to overshadow us. The enemy tries to condemn us, and he tells us we might as well go ahead and give in to sin, because we can never do any better. We can’t let our guilt stand between us and our relationship with Christ. He knows us, and He loves us. Let’s also try to take some preventative measures. If I had left that cake at the store and not brought it home, I wouldn’t have been tempted to eat it. We don’t have to put ourselves in tempting situations. But if we find ourselves in temptation, we must remember, He always provides a way of escape. And, if we do slip up and make a mistake, we should be quick to make it right. Don’t avoid Jesus. The longer you avoid Him, the harder it is to get back to your relationship with Him.