October 3, 2009
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. . . . James 1:12a
It doesn't make much difference how old you are, temptation can always be a problem.
Temptation was the problem for the ten-year-old boy whose parents told him not to go to a movie. You need not be a rocket scientist to guess that movie was the place where mom and dad found their son the following Saturday.
As they drove home, the mother took the role of parental spokesperson. With her voice showing an appropriate mixture of sadness and icy coldness, she said, "Young man, I want, I mean we want an answer. We told you not to go to that movie. Whatever possessed you to disobey us and do that?"
She didn't wait for his reply. She was on a roll and continued, "You knew we wouldn't be happy. You knew we would have to punish you. Why? Why would you break your mother's heart?"
Eventually, mom ran out of steam and that pause gave the boy an opportunity to share his well-rehearsed explanation.
He said, "Mom, it's not my fault. I just couldn't help myself. I was out on the street when I first smelled that popcorn. I wanted to smell it better. That's why I walked up to the ticket booth. I wasn't going to go in. I wouldn't disobey you. But the outside entrance of the theater was so slick from all the buttered popcorn spilt over the years, I just slid inside.
Then, trying to change the subject, the boy asked, "I think that's dangerous for older people, don't you? We ought to put up a sign or go and tell somebody. Who should we tell?"
Like the boy, people from mankind's first days have been sliding inside to temptation and doing all manner of things they shouldn't. Understand, your temptation may not be mine, and ours may not do anything for the person next door. Even so, we all have sins into which we slide.
This really takes us to the point of this devotion. If you have a personal temptation that has been hard to shake -- a propensity to sin you've not been able to conquer on your own -- help is available.
The Lord Jesus wishes, through His sinless sacrifice and His ongoing presence, to change you.
Those who are turned to Him in faith find He has the ability not only to forgive sins of the past, but the desire to fix your future as well.
For such a transformation, for victory over temptation we pray the words below:
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, the devil has had a lot of practice at tempting souls. Sadly, he has a lot of success in getting us to sin. This is why I need Your help, Your forgiveness, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Strengthen me so I may resist sin and Satan and bear witness to the transforming power of Your love. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries