As I entered the city limits, I was bombarded with the signs from the many restaurants. From fast food to glamorous high-class eateries, the choices were limitless. There was only one problem: I was overweight and in dire need of shedding the excess pounds.
As I fought the urge to eat the unhealthy food, the thought dawned on me that, as humans, we are inundated with temptation of every kind imaginable every minute of every day. This is one of the devil’s favorite lairs. He will not tempt us in areas where we have no problem controlling the urge. Rather, “…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He is thrilled when that armor of determination sustains a crack just wide enough for him to enter.
It’s the little ways we are tempted which get looked over the most. We may think “just this one time won’t matter,” and it may not, depending on what that “one time” is. You may be able to eat a piece of candy and fit it into a healthy lifestyle, but what if your temptation is alcohol or pursuing a relationship with someone when you have a spouse waiting for you at home. Giving in to temptation to cheat on your spouse just one time can have lasting consequences, and every alcoholic knows how easy it is to fall back into the pit of alcoholism with only one drink. Even eating that piece of candy can cause a major downfall if you are in the wrong frame of mind. Have you ever spent days on a strict eating plan and then you fell off the wagon and ate something not on your plan? I have. It is all too easy to think, “Well, I’ve done it now. I may as well finish out the day by eating what I want and then I’ll start over tomorrow.” All too often, though, tomorrow never comes and before long, because of that one slip up, we are right back where we started at the beginning of the “diet.”
Paul spells it out for us in his letters to Corinth. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). It seems to me that a good benchmark for the way we should live is to glorify God with our bodies. If we ask ourselves, every time we face temptation, this question: “Will what I am about to do be pleasing to God and be beneficial to my body?”
Take it from me, this is one of hardest things to do because the flesh is weak. It is so easy to ignore our conscience (which, I think, is simply the Holy Spirit convicting us of wrongdoing). Then Satan kicks in with that oh, so enticing temptation. But God has a plan: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He knows we are tempted and he wants us to call on Him for help.
We are given free will to make choices concerning our daily existence. We should start every day bringing before the Lord our weaknesses and asking for help in making good choices. But when we make bad ones, He is there to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and wipe the slate clean so we can try again. All we have to do is ask.