Did you know temptation can be a good thing? Really, you didn’t? Well, let me tell you about it. Sometimes temptation isn’t such an evil thing; sometimes it’s not evil at all. Sometimes temptation is a really good thing, but it could be a really bad thing if we give into it. Do I have you confused? Well, let me tell you something. In fact, let me tell you something about me – and about a victory I had just the other day when it comes to temptation that truly is a good thing.
It was one of those mornings. The morning of all mornings. Woke up, 18 dogs to let out, 18 dogs to feed, 3 paralyzed dogs who need extra care, lots of poop, lots of poop, breakfast for me, Bible time, somehow in the midst of it all, let dogs out, let dogs in, did I say let dogs out, or in, whatever, and off I went. It was Sunday after all. So off to church I went. Drove 45 minutes in one direction, left church early, drive an hour or so in another direction to do a homeless outreach, then another 45 minutes home to let the dogs OUT – yikes. Oops, it was no longer morning. Afternoon. And time to rest. But hey, in the midst of it all, I had a victory. A true victory. A victory over a temptation that truly is a good thing. A victory in the name of Jesus the Christ. How can temptation be a good thing, even a really good thing? Let me tell you about it. On the morning of all mornings……..
Once upon a time……..Nope, won’t do that. You’re already in suspense. You already have a busy life. Right? Who doesn’t these days? Okay, so here it is. When I arrived at the homeless outreach, I spent a few minutes looking around, saying hello to homeless friends of mine, chatting with a fellow servant of the Lord, and waiting to see what God would have me do. And then it happened. The temptation. The really good temptation. I know, all temptations seem good. Of course they do. After all, why else would we fall for them? Why would we fall into them, right? But seriously, this really was – and is a good temptation. What I mean is, the temptation is a really good thing. But how can that be?
“Hey, I could use some help with these clothes today,” said the lady in charge of the tables of donated clothes for the homeless and low-income population that attend the weekly outreach event. “Can you help?”
Okay, can you think of a better temptation on a Sunday after church? I know. You’re shaking your head. You’re sighing. You’re wondering. You’re ready to burst out laughing. This lady is crazy, right? I mean me. I’m crazy. You’re thinking it. You’re seriously asking yourself, “what’s up with this shabby chick Christian? How can helping someone organize and give out clothing to the homeless be a temptation?” You’re thinking it, don’t deny it. You know this couldn’t possibly be a temptation because you know good and well giving to those in need is always a good thing. Right? Wrong.
“I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” I told her. “But I’ll see if I can find someone who can help you. I’ve got to go into the crowd.” So I left.
Yes, you heard me. I left. I walked away. I walked away from my temptation. And there was my victory.
See, I had been going to the outreach week after week (with some exceptions) and basically turning in circles. Doing a bit of this, and a bit of that. Lots of the time, I was giving out sleeping bags as part of Walk by Faith Ministry’s Sweet Dreams Project: Helping the Homeless Dream & Sleep. But God told me recently the program is now done. Uh oh, what’s up with that? I should be giving to people in need, right?
Of course. But therein lies the temptation. Let me put it plain and simple. Cut and dry, eh? So here goes. Sometimes we are TEMPTED to do REALLY GOOD THINGS when THE LORD wants us to do something entirely different. Huh? Okay, you don’t totally get it yet, right? I know. Me neither. Well, I didn’t anyway.
See, I love the Lord more than anything and anyone in the universe. And I have a servant’s heart. A huge heart. And I love to give, and I love to serve. So all giving is good, right? No, it’s not.
See, when God created the Body of Christ, He gave us all different jobs. Just like the human body, according to the Bible. One is an arm, another a leg, and so on. You get that. Of course you do. But have you ever thought about which limb you are?
Yeah, I didn’t. I tried to be everything. All the legs, all the arms, absolutely every part of the body. Yeah, sad to say, I even tried (and still do sometimes) to be the head. The head is CHRIST. Oops, not supposed to play God, right? Right! Okay, so I’ll be all the other parts. Not. But I was. Seriously.
So guess what happened when I was trying to be all the other body parts? I did a pretty poor job – and sometimes no job at all – at doing my own job. Yeah, the one God gave me.
My temptation, then, is a really good thing. Helping others is awesome. It’s necessary. It’s commanded. But it’s NOT good if I’m helping others in a way that keeps me from helping others in the way I am called to.
Do you know what happened after I said NO to the lady who asked me for help with the clothes? Of course you don’t. So I’ll tell you. I tried for a few minutes to get some help from her, and then I let it go. Then I jumped into the job God gave me.
I am called to preach, teach, write, and minister for the Lord. The Lord has given me gifts, and He has given me a calling. Within a fairly short period of time, I had the privilege, and pleasure, of walking through the crowd to see where God might lead me. I ended up organizing (not organizing clothes, mind you) a group of people to pray over a woman on the verge of eviction with a major, and untreated, medical disorder. I had the opportunity to talk to a homeless woman in flight from an abusive spouse. Long story short. I got to do as best I could what GOD wanted me to do.
Guess what happened when a man asked for a sleeping bag? “I don’t have any,” I told him. Then I called after him to tell him that I have sleeping bags, but not at the outreach. I wanted to be honest, and clear. See, I still have sleeping bags. But they’re on hold.
Because I’m learning how to live a life on hold. On hold for God. For His direction, and His directions. Why? For HIS glory.
Temptation can be extra appealing, and extra tempting, and easier to justify, when it looks good. And, yes, when it REALLY IS GOOD. But is it God?
I wonder how many of us are living lives that were meant for someone else. I wonder how many of us are living lives in which pieces and parts are the Lord’s will, and others clearly are not. But are we clear about this? Can we discern the difference? Have we even bothered to try? Or not.
Are we falling for temptation that truly is a good thing? Why are we falling for these truly good temptations? In all honesty, I fall for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, pride and arrogance. “I’m the only one who can do this well.” Sometimes fear. “If I don’t do it, who will?” Sometimes impatience and being willful. “I don’t want to wait on the Lord to hear His will.” Sometimes habit. Yeah, habit. I know I’m not the only one. Regardless of why I’m falling, and regardless of why WE are falling, temptation is tempting. And temptation leads to sin if we choose to follow it. And you know where that leads. Or, do you? The Bible has some awesome (and hard!) scriptures on all this.
I wonder how many of us, if we stop in our tracks and seek the Lord’s face, would find we could be living altogether different lives if we were to submit ourselves to Him. Imagine if we chose to say NO to what we need to say NO to, and if were then free to say YES to what we need to say yes to.
What exactly do we need to say yes to?
What do we need to say NO to? Ask Him.
Is it time for you to seek the Lord’s face and ask Him if you have been falling into any temptation that truly is a good thing?
Lord, help me to be humble. Help me to love and serve as you desire. Forgive me for all the times I fall short, over and again. Help me to walk away from temptation, and to walk in the calling you have on my life. Help me to do as you ask, when you ask, all for your glory. Amen.
1Co 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Jas 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
1Co 12:12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
1Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
1Co 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
1Co 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
1Co 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”