1 Corinthians 10:13
“For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.” ( Biblegateway.com : Amplified Bible)
The picture above is of a peach orchard just down the street. And last week the peaches were ripe for the picking. My neighbors bragged about filling up their pockets and bringing them home. No one seems to know who owns the orchard. All they know is that eventually a machine comes by and that day all the peaches are gone. So it seems as far as the neighborhood is concerned, the peaches are free for the picking until they get picked for retail sales.
But somebody does own that orchard.
However, since “everybody” was doing it, so did I. I felt a twinge of guilt when I stood at the edge of the orchard eating a fresh juicy peach, but I dismissed it as being silly. But then, I convinced my husband to join me. (Sound familiar?) Not only did we eat of the trees, we also filled our pockets (and a bag), enough to enjoy for a few days.
Aah. The guilt. Every time I saw that beautiful bowl of peaches on the table I was reminded of how they got there.
So I prayed about it. I realized I couldn’t go pay for them after the fact, since no one seems to know who owns the orchard. It was too late. I couldn’t undo what I had already done. It wasn’t just a sin of theft, it was a sin against my own spirit. Maybe as far as everyone else was concerned, it wasn’t a big deal. But it was to me.
The message in church seemed seemed to be pointed directly at me (of course). I realized then that God was trying to speak to me through this situation. Justifying a sin only weakens the spirit making you more vulnerable to committing more sins in the future. As the soul becomes hardened, the spirit man becomes weaker.
I have weaknesses. We all do. Its so easy to sit and justify our sins. But what kind of example are we being to our neighbors and those around us when we do things just because “everyone else is doing it”? We preach these things to our kids, but then can’t live this out in our own lives.
As I reflected back, I wondered, did I ask for God’s guidance that day before I went for my walk? Did I ask for his guidance before I convinced my husband to join me to deliberately steal from the orchard? I’m pretty sure the answer is no.
After I confessed my sin to the Lord, I felt him gently tell me: there are plenty of weaknesses in my spirit. I can’t manage my life by myself, I NEED him everyday in everything. Even a walk in the orchard.
The pastor’s message, appropriately, was on temptation. Everyone faces temptation. But when you are tempted that is exactly the time when you need to call out: “Holy Spirit, I need you NOW.” That is when safety and security comes. That is when the temptation is conquered.
I remind myself, even Jesus was tempted in the desert with food and water. But he resisted and conquered. Even though he was God embodied in man, he lived and breathed as a human being so he could experience everything that we experience every day. He understands temptation. He conquered it with the strength of God. We can too.
Today’s prayer: Dear Father God: Thank you for understand my weaknesses. Thank you for showing me where I need to make improvements in my life. Thank you for keeping me humble so that I can acknowledge that I am a long way from perfection. This too will help me in lessening my tendency to judge others. It also teaches me that I need to call on you everyday for everything in every situation. Please remind me to call on you for strength and wisdom when faced with temptation. I need your strength and your wisdom always. Forgive me of my sins against you and against myself and against the community in which I live. Help me to be a better example to others. Help me to do better today and tomorrow and to learn from my mistakes. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.