Matthew 26:41 - (Jesus said) "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Eric Abramovitz is a clarinet player. Those who judge clarinet players say he is a good one.
Back in 2014, Abramovitz had applied for one of two full scholarships to be awarded to the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. If he had received such a scholarship he would have had the opportunity to study under the renowned teacher, Yehuda Gilad.
To make a long story short, Abramovitz got the scholarship, and he didn't get the scholarship.
Yes, I know that's confusing, but I can explain. First, he got the scholarship. And he did, you know. He managed to beat out numerous other applicants for the program and was sent an email telling him the good news.
Second, he didn't get the scholarship. At the time, Abramovitz made his application he was living with a young lady, his girlfriend, Jennifer Lee. Well, she saw the scholarship's congratulatory email before Abramovitz did. Fearing she might lose her boyfriend if he were to move away, Lee wrote a letter to the school, and in Abramovitz's name, turned down the assistance.
Then she set up another email account in the name of Yehuda Gilad. In the instructor's name, she sent a rejection letter to her boyfriend. If Lee had had her way, the story would have ended with her and Eric living happily ever after. But that's not where the story ends. Two years later, Abramovitz did some part-time studying under Gilad who asked, "Why did you turn me down?" That's when Abramovitz figured out what had happened. He sued his ex-girlfriend, and the judge awarded him $266,000.
Has it ever occurred to you that when evil comes calling it doesn't usually look bad and nasty? In Abramovitz's case, evil showed up in the person of his girlfriend.
And for God's people, when Adam and Eve were tempted, Satan didn't show up with horns, a tail, a pitchfork, and an overwhelming smell of sulfur. He came as a smooth-talking serpent.
During the fall of Jericho, Achan disobeyed the Lord who had instructed the soldiers of Israel to destroy the city and its contents. Achan decided to disregard the Lord's orders when he spotted a beautiful Babylonian robe, a bunch of silver, and a bar of gold.
The Bible tells of how, all in all, David was a pretty good king. But you will also remember David stopped being a good king when he spotted Bathsheba whom Scripture describes as being "very beautiful." You know the rest of that story (see 2 Samuel 11:2-3).
Truly, if temptation came calling dressed all sloppy and with a mean and nasty look, we would have an easier time rejecting him. Unfortunately for us, he comes to us looking like a movie star, and with a knowing wink, and a winning smile, suggests we do some sinning.
Thankfully, we have a Savior who has shown He can resist Satan's temptations to sin and decline the world's seductions to transgress. Jesus' perfect life ended with Him carrying our wrongdoings to the cross where His blood washed them away. Now, because of what Jesus has done, those who are given faith in Him are forgiven, and with the Holy Spirit's guidance, find themselves better able to resist temptation when it comes calling.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that we may be given the ability to recognize and resist temptation in whatever way it comes calling. As Your redeemed children, may all of our actions show our thanks to the Savior and the salvation He has won. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Rob Quinn for Newser on June 15, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: http://www.newser.com/story/260663/woman-ordered-to-pay-266k-for-derailing-boyfriends-music-career.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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