Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! Matthew 4:10 (NIV)
I gave myself a holiday this week, which happened to coincide with the Spring Break of my 6- and 9-year-old grandchildren. Since they’re both rather artistic, I thought a trip to the local craft store would be a big hit, and I was right. En route, William suggested it would be “freakin’ packed” with all the Breakers, but we determined it would be worth the risk. To our happy surprise, we were so early, almost no one but the “partners” were there.
The game rules had been predetermined: everyone would decide what special thing he or she would select, and then we’d hit the aisles. William knew immediately what he wanted, but he politely suggested that Caroline, the younger, might need a little longer to decide and that we should let her go first. It didn’t take Caroline long to select a build-it-yourself tent and bedroll for her American Girl doll. And then she did something unexpected: Caroline turned her head and covered her eyes, saying, “There are so many things that I like, I don’t want to see any more.” William selected a helicopter kit, and we led Caroline, hand still covering her eyes, to the cash register.
I wish temptation were that easy to resist. Or perhaps it is—we just don’t cover our eyes, and we’re not that determined to avoid it. One of my clergy friends told me he’d never seen a temptation he didn’t like. That’s really the nature of temptation—something we like or desire but distinctly know it’s not for our good nor God’s glory. (Why go to a malt shop when you’re trying to lose weight?) “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.” (I Cor. 10:13 NIV)
Caroline reminded me of something important: While God can provide a way out of temptation, I have to cooperate by turning away from those things that can trip me up. Way to go, little one.
Father, thank you for continuing to teach us—even through little children. We know you will be faithful to your Word, but help us also to discipline ourselves to be obedient to your truth. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.