Lead me not into temptation...please?


December used to be my month of intense temptation-- to overeat and overspend. Sweets were definitely the worst. Years ago I could be held hostage by a plate of Christmas cookies. Now, thankfully, I have that one under control, but like Whack-A- Mole, another temptation comes to take its place.

Temptation sometimes tastes good. It can be chewed, swallowed or smoked. It can be wrapped in shiny paper and bows. You can wear something tempting; someone else can wear the temptation. Sometimes temptation is hiding in the shadows, other times it’s as obvious as the TV or computer. It’s tempting to be lazy just as it’s tempting to be a workaholic for money’s sake. Temptation subtly twists good things, like exercise, into addictions. Temptation can be a person, place or thing.

It begins young. I remember watching my grandson sneak fudge out of the refrigerator. He was tempted and in his 3-year-old mind, it was worth the risk. I was no different. And as I got older, the only thing that changed was the kind of temptation. Interesting how temptation gets more risky and unhealthy as we age. Cookies may seem harmless to some, but for me they weren’t. They birthed a teenage eating disorder. Temptation has many disguises and excuses. Try it. Once. Twice. Beware: a small campfire can still burn down a forest.

I admire those who have more resistance to temptation’s magnetic pull. Being tempted is normal, resisting is hard, and giving into it has a price---sometimes a desperately expensive price. Temptation is sneaky, and it’s a slippery road that can lead to dependence. Some addictions are easier to hide than others. Mine was. What I needed was someone who would hold me accountable.

I discovered my ultimate accountability partner: Jesus. Together we beat the sweets. If I wavered in my resolve, He’d remind me the cost of my choice. Cookies lost their power over me. Interesting how beating that gave me power to beat whatever came next. Temptations met their match: Jesus. December is now the month I honor the One who leads me NOT into temptation. One more life-saving reason I call Him my Savior.

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