SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2012
‘And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, God is tempting me. God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death’. (James 1v13-15)
THE penitential journey for Christians all over the world started with this season of Lent. This time calls for sober reflection, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The flesh should be subdued and distractions that weigh Christians down from the heavenly race are to be put aside.
Temptation comes from evil desires within us, not from God. It begins with an evil thought and becomes sin when we dwell on the thought and allow it to become an action. Like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows more destructive the more we let it have its way. The best time to stop a temptation is before it gets too strong or moves too fast to be control.
I Cor. 10v13: ‘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’.
People who live for God often wonder why they still have temptations. God tests people, but He does not tempt them by trying to seduce them to sin. God allows Satan to tempt people, however, in order to refine their faith and help them grow in their dependence on Christ. We can resist temptation to sin by turning to God for strength and choosing to obey His word.
Lent affords us a great opportunity to be closer to God and run away from every sinful desire. Our Saviour Jesus repeatedly said: ‘It is written,’ showing that there is power in being closer to God through His word. We need to meditate further on Matthew 4 on how Jesus overcame the Tempter. No one is above temptation. It may come in your home, school, business relationship or even in the church community because the devil likes experimenting with believers, if only he could turn them away from the faith. Sin separates us from our creator. We should not justify it when we are wrong.
It is easy to blame others and make excuses for evil thoughts and wrong actions. We use excuses such as: it’s the other person’s fault; I couldn’t help it; everybody does it; it was just a mistake; nobody’s perfect; the devil made me do it; I was under pressure; I didn’t know it was wrong; or God was tempting me.
A person who makes excuses is trying to shift the blame from him or herself to something or someone else. A Christian, on the other hand, accepts responsibility for his or her wrongs, confesses them and asks God for forgiveness.
There must be determination and discipline in order not to disappoint Christ. Whatever it is, we must overcome the devil, the world and the flesh. We call on all Christian faithful therefore to sincerely watch and pray that they may not fall into temptation during and after the Lenten period.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State