I love Frank’s honesty in the popular Frank and Ernest cartoon. One day the friends were talking to a priest when Frank blurted out, “How come opportunity knocks once but temptation beats at my door every day?” Great question.
Historians refer to Marc Anthony as the silver-tongued orator of Rome. He was a brilliant statesman and magnificent in battle. Courageous, strong and handsome, he possessed all of the qualities one would look for in the ruler of the world. However, moral weakness made Marc Anthony vulnerable. One day his personal tutor said to him, “O Marcus, O colossal child. You are able to conquer the world but unable to resist temptation.”
The temptations of life vary as much as the trials of life. We can be tempted to lie, cheat, steal, murder, slander, gossip, or speak evil of another person. Power and control also present unique temptations, especially to people living in power places like Washington D.C. For some, food entices them in an unhealthy way. Others find it difficult to resist sexual temptation. Both food and sex ravage the body and make it a slave to desire run amuck. Still others succumb to the enticements of materialism and consumerism. They can’t seem to resist the urge to keep up with their neighbors who just bought a new boat.
Oscar Wilde said simply, “I can resist everything but temptation.”
Temptation is the common experience of all humanity. Nobody is excused from the trials of life or from the daily solicitations to do evil. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness.
What is temptation? Temptation is an opportunity to fulfill a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way and outside of the will of God. Said another way, temptation is an opportunity to accomplish a good thing in a bad way. God often wants us to have what we desire (i.e. food, sex); but He wants us to have in a certain way or at a specific time.
The war within is real. Peter tells us that fleshly lusts “wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Yes, you are in the fight of your life. Have you become become battle weary? Have you given up and given in? Instead, be encouraged. God is on your side and has already given you the victory.
First Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” Winning the war within starts by looking for the way of escape and then taking it.