I’ve been trying to go the fitness center regularly to exercise. I know I desparately need daily exercise. Frankly, I have not always gotten the exercise I needed. But, I am trying to do better. Recently, I made my way to the center to exercise and noticed some kind of activity just to the side of the front door. Further examination of the activity made it clear to me that in front of the fitness center, where people go to exercise, including many people like me who are in significant need of breaking bad habits, someone was selling Girl Scout Cookies! In order to enter the place you needed to be, you had to walk right by the cookies. Going in and coming out! You can guess the decision I made.
The words are found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. In this verse, God makes it clear to us that we are going to be tempted and we do not have to “give in” to it. We know our adversary goes about as a roaring lion, “seeking whom he may devour.” We even know the Son was tempted like we are, “yet without sin.” We know it’s coming. We know who is behind it. We know that even the “standard” faced it. But, not all temptation is the same. It is likely all who are reading this can think of those things that are particularly “tempting” for you. We know it is best to stay away, to not put ourselves where that temptation is. That is always the best choice and gives us the best chance for success. There is no “way of escape” that is better than removing yourself from the temptation. However, we know that is not always realistic. Sometimes, to get to the gym, which is where you know you need to be, you have to walk past the cookies, which represents a very real temptation for you. Sometimes we just do not have the choice of staying away.
Joseph had to “go to work.” He handled the temptation the best he could. He faced up to Potiphar’s wife and resisted, knowing he could not commit this great wickedness and sin against God. He also recognized the point he could not “stay around it” any longer. It was then that he ran away. He knew that the decision to run away would result in earthly difficulty but spiritual victory.
We’ve all got “fitness centers” in our lives that are very real responsibilities, things that we do not want, or need, to avoid. In front of many of them are tables filled with “Girl Scout Cookies” that present very real temptations to us. I am thankful our God “is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”
~ Clark Sims