I wish I could claim that I am so holy that I never get tempted to sin. Wouldn’t that be a great thing to be able to say? However, it would be a boldfaced lie! The truth is that, until we see the Lord face to face, all of us will have to face the reality of our sinful nature with its bent desires and wrong inclinations.
On top of this, we have an enemy who makes strong efforts to lead us into sin so he can ensnare us, and he knows how to prey on our weaknesses. To make matters worse, the world we live in actively encourages us to join in its sinful behaviour. In other words, from time-to-time temptations will come, and we need to know how to stand firm in these times of trial.
Today’s scripture referring to Esau helps us see the situation more clearly. Esau was hungry and in order to meet a temporary desire he gave up his birthright. And for what? Scripture calls it a morsel, something insignificant, without lasting value. He gained little but lost so much. This is exactly what happens when we yield to sin. We do, in fact, gain something - temporary pleasure. But we stand to lose a whole lot more, as sin is destructive. It brings us into bondage, it affects our relationships and, most of all, it stands in the way of our relationship with the Lord.
So, in times of serious temptation, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this really worth it? Do I really want to walk in Esau’s footsteps here?” This reality check can help our resolve to remain holy and withstand the pressure to sin.
God gives us a wonderful promise. He says that when we resist the enemy, he will flee from us (James 4:7). I believe this is partly because, when we resist the enemy, we grow stronger. Satan comes to tempt us so we will fall. But if we choose to submit to God instead, and strengthen our resolve to remain holy, then this temptation becomes a point for spiritual growth. It’s a win-win for the Lord!
Being tempted is not a sin. The Bible says that even Jesus Himself was tempted, in every possible way (Hebrews 4:15). It’s just that, unlike you and me, He did not sin. He is the only one who, because of His own hard-won victory, can lead us on the same path and teach us how to overcome in times of temptation.
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