A while back someone sent me a recipe claiming that you can make a chocolate cake in five minutes. I had my doubts. But the temptation of a chocolate cake in a mere five minutes was tempting me, especially since there was a tub of vanilla ice cream in the freezer and a bottle of chocolate syrup readily available. After a quick search I found all that we had all the ingredients. The cake recipe TEMPTED me and I TRIED it and much to my surprise and delight the recipe worked and I now have a new fight on my hands — the fight to not make one EVERY night!
Chocolate cake and the consumption of it (in moderation) is not sinful – maybe it ought to be. But this wonderful cake and ice cream combination reminds me of the struggles we face as we try to live worthy of the kingdom of God. Most of us – make that all of us – face things in our lives that can and sometimes do pull us away from intimacy with God. These things can be work related, recreation, selfish desires, or anything similar. Paul gives some lists in 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, Romans 1 & 2 that mention specific areas of temptation. But I am not writing to condemn you or me for what we struggle with. I want to encourage us to avoid them. The Hebrew writer tells us to “lay aside the sin” which weighs us down (Heb 12:1) as we patiently run the race of life. Paul encourages his readers to change their focus to what is “above” and not on what is of this world (Col 3:2) and to focus on the “unseen” yet “eternal” things of God (2 Cor 4:16ff).
A few more thoughts, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (Jas 1:2-4; 13-15 ESV).