May 19, 2023
Escaping the Trap of Temptation
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22 NIV).
Friend to Friend
On sunny afternoons after school, my brother and I would cross the street to play at our neighborhood park. We hunted for turtles along the edge of the pond. We pumped our swings high in the air, and we climbed the jungle gym to dangle our feet and enjoy the view.
One week we noticed a stranger was stopping by the park as well. He followed us from the slide to the swings to the teeter-totter, acting friendly and asking personal questions. Our mom had taught us “stranger danger” enough for us to be cautious. Yet after several days, I let down my guard. While my brother was far down the hill, I went to play near the bench where the man was sitting.
In that vulnerable moment, the stranger offered a toy as a bribe to come close. Suddenly afraid, I turned and ran as fast as I could go to my brother and the safety of our home. Police were called and we never saw the man at the park again.
I hate to think what might have happened to little-girl me if I hadn’t run away. And in the years since then, I wish I’d always run from another kind of threat—the danger of temptation in my life. How many hurts and regrets would be erased if I said no to sin every time?
Can you relate? Maybe you and I dated Mr. Wrong to try to feel loved. Terrified of failure, we cheated our way to success. Our addictions offered temporary relief from sorrow or stress. We built an angry, bitter wall around our hearts to protect us from pain. We showed off on social media to feel seen and praised. We compromised our conscience to fit in. When temptation offered to meet our needs, we said “yes” and found ourselves guilty, broken, and worse off than before.
Our Father God knows the damage that sin will do in our lives. He knows how the enemy dresses up evil to look enticing. God sees how, in our desperation to feel safe and loved and whole, we think we can sin our way to satisfaction. When temptation comes—and it will—He knows we must be ready to run.
We see a classic case of failure-to-run in 2 Samuel 11 in the Bible. One sleepless night, King David took an evening stroll on his palace roof. On a nearby rooftop the “very beautiful” woman Bathsheba was bathing and caught his eye (v. 2). David’s glance turned into a gaze, and before long he had her brought to his bed. This act of adultery led to David murdering Bathsheba’s husband in an attempt to cover his tracks. What a devastating example of when temptation has its way:
“…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).
While David was forgiven by God, “calamity” and death would strike his household again and again (2 Samuel 12:11). Temptation promised happiness but sin brought suffering and grief to his life.
Today let’s remember that while sin “gives birth to death,” Jesus came so we could “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). In Him, we find faithful love. Comfort in grief. Courage and strength to carry on. Wisdom and guidance. Generous provision. The promise of heaven. Through Jesus, we are adopted, forgiven, and made new. We not only receive His gifts, but we receive the Giver Himself as our Father God.
What is tempting you and me today? What are we reaching for that will only hurt and disappoint us in the end? Instead, let’s take God at His word in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Together, let’s turn and run to the One whose love will satisfy every need and hope of our hearts.
Dear Lord, I’m tempted every day to choose my way instead of Yours. In my doubts and desires, I sin. Give me the wisdom to recognize temptation and the strength to run the other way. Fill me with a hunger for You—Your Word, Your love, and Your perfect peace. Keep me close and pure in heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Name one temptation you’re facing and how it could damage your life by giving in to it.
What is one practical step you can take to “flee” this temptation?
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Joanna and her husband, Rob, created Mr. & Mrs.: 366 Devotions for Couples to help you grow in faith and love each day of the year. This beautiful, foil-embossed edition is the perfect gift for your marriage or for the bride and groom who want to keep Christ in the center of their home.
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