Have a Little Discipline1 Corinthians 10:13a
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
Thoughts for Today:Following church last Sunday my daughter Amanda asked, "Can we get sushi for lunch today?" (Amanda loves sushi and would probably eat it every day if she could). Sherry said, "I feel like a chicken salad from Fred's (a favorite Mexican Restaurant). Let's have your Dad decide." I felt a setup coming. I said, "Fred's is really big temptation for me -- with the chips, salsa, and other great food -- I'm not sure if it's wise to position myself where it will be difficult for me to honor the terms of my diet. I kind of like the idea of sushi as well." Amanda said, "Sushi, oh yeah!" Sherry said, "Oh come on Mike, let's go to Fred's -- just eat what I do and have a little discipline."
Where do you think we went for lunch? If you guessed Fred's you would be right. Did God tempt me? No. Did God allow me to be tempted? Yes. Was it a temptation I could legitimately bear? Yes. The end result was I ate a chicken salad, had no chips and salsa, and drank water. It wasn't that difficult. Why? For four reasons: first, I was committed to my dietary plan; second, I didn't seduce myself with thoughts of how good the food might taste; third, I didn't try "just one"; and fourth (and most important), as long as I did my part, I was at peace knowing the Lord would not allow me to be tempted beyond what I could handle. I just had to be responsible for managing my thoughts.
Another question might be: Did Sherry tempt me? My answer is no. As much as we might like to isolate ourselves from temptation -- perhaps placing those around us in bondage to our own intolerances -- I believe it is incumbent upon us individually to rest in and rely completely upon the Lord's faithfulness to His promises. However, we should not blindly and foolishly place ourselves in situations that might be overwhelmingly tempting. We need to know our limitations, set boundaries, and as my wife said, "Have a little discipline."
Questions to Ponder:I've intentionally used a light approach to a serious subject -- temptation. Why? Because a dietary temptation is something most of us will acknowledge (versus: lust, sexual immorality, gossip, idolatry, and the like). The point is our sin is our responsibility, not God's (or anyone else). I've heard many people say, "God made me this way, I can't help it." I've got news for you -- it's our failure alone. Why? Because God is faithful, we aren't. The Bible tells us (James 1:14): "...each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." Therefore, temptation begins in the mind, with the desire. What are you tempted by? What thoughts do you hold onto that lead down the wrong path? (2 Corinthians 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.") Which of your thoughts do you need to control? Will you demonstrate a little discipline?