Don't turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths
(Proverbs 4:27, NCV).
Friend to Friend
While Flip Wilson, a talented comedian and variety show host of the 80’s, is often credited with the origination of that well-known and still popular excuse, “The devil made me do it.” I think Eve beat him to the punch.
Temptation really has not changed much since the Garden of Eden days. Like that juicy, red apple, temptation still entices us with delicious sin. We still engage in power struggles with God, we still flirt with the devil, and when we get caught, we still try to shift the blame to someone else.
“I couldn’t help myself. The devil made me do it,” Susan cried as she sat across the table from me, wringing her perfectly manicured hands and dabbing at the tears streaming down her expertly made-up face. I couldn’t believe my ears. Was she kidding me? Did this beautiful, competent woman really believe the ridiculous words that had just come out of her mouth? Why not? Eve did. We do.
Susan was one of those women who turn heads when she enters a room and is always “dressed-to-kill” as my mama would say. On the outside, she seemed to have it all together, but on the inside, she was a hot mess. Married for 15 years, with two beautiful children, Susan explained that she had been bored with her husband for several years. Her husband was a good man who loved their children, worked hard to provide for his family, and even attended church with them each week. “He is just not exciting to me anymore! He is so boring!” Susan concluded.
Enter the exciting other man. At the time, Susan was a very successful pediatric nurse at a local hospital. She worked closely with a doctor who just happened to be bored with his wife, too. How convenient for them both!
We can always count on temptation to be convenient.
One thing led to another. Susan and this doctor were soon meeting at a hotel several times a week, enjoying that elusive excitement they both craved. “How can this be wrong, Mary?” she asked.
Sin can make us so stupid, can’t it?
“For the first time in years, I feel alive” Susan gushed. “He is everything a woman could want in a man, and he is so exciting!”
Can’t you just see the apple dangling a little lower from that forbidden tree limb?
Susan continued her thrilling affair. When her husband found out, she lost both him and her children, but she did have that exciting man – right? Actually, she didn’t. It seems that the electrifying doctor suddenly found his wife to be exciting enough after all and decided that Susan wasn’t worth wrecking his marriage over. Susan lost everything – and it all began with one temptation and one wrong choice to give in to that temptation.
Susan and Eve had a lot in common and with every woman on the face of the earth – including you and me. Some of you are thinking, “I would never do something so stupid!” while others are thinking, “I can’t believe I did something so stupid!” Every minute of every day, the battle with temptation is lost in someone’s life, and sin’s destruction scars a soul.
Eve was one of the most amazing creations of God. Eve was unique, the last creative act of God during the first week on earth. Created pure and holy, Eve’s purpose in life was to minister to and with Adam as they lived in the Garden of Eden, a perfect place of pure beauty. Everything they needed or wanted was there. Adam and Eve loved their work and did it with ease. They also enjoyed perfect intimacy with each other and with God – an intimacy that was unhindered by sin of any kind. Then came temptation – and everything changed.
Eve chose to give in to temptation. Eve did not sin when she began her conversation with Satan … or when she questioned God’s instructions. Eve sinned when she mentally agreed with the lies of the enemy because that mental choice led to an action of disobedience.
Satan is still wreaking havoc in the lives of women today as he wields his weapon of temptation. Oh, yes! Satan is alive and well and the reigning master of lies and temptation. The good news is that God has already given us every weapon we need to win the war with temptation that Eve lost. We just have to make the choice to pick up those weapons and fight!
In order to win the war with temptation, we must understand that temptation is not a test from God. It is a trap of Satan – a trap baited with seductive snares in every size, shape and appeal. Temptation is not sin. It is an invitation to sin. When we accept the invitation and then attend the party – we sin.
Life would be so much easier if Satan was obvious. Instead, he is subtle and clever as he mixes lies with truth. He never shouts, he whispers. Make no mistake – his goal is the total destruction of your life, and his opening act is temptation.
Father, do not let me ever forget the price You paid for my sin. Thank You for the forgiveness and freedom You purchased with Your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life for Your glory.
In Your name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Set aside time each day to pray and study His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of every sin that stands between you and God. Confess that sin. Choose against it and walk on in His power and forgiveness.
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