Temptations are real, and we all have had experiences facing and dealing with them in life. What have we learned from our experiences?
Have we learned that that devil employs all kinds of tricks, including make-believes, to get us into his trap?
A successful female executive stood before the Pearly Gates, facing St. Peter himself. “Strange,” mused St. Peter, “while I think it over, I’ll let you experience a day here and a day in Hell.” So the woman spent an entire day lounging on clouds, playing the harp and her 24 hours passed quickly, and then she was transported to hell, where the devil took her to a beautiful country club where she found many of her old friends having a great time. Before she knew it, her 24 hours were up, and she was back at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said. “I’ve considered your placement and decided I’ll let you choose where you wish to spend eternity.” She replied. “Well, Heaven was nice, but, no offense, I had a great time in Hell.” And back down she went. But this time she found herself in a desolate wasteland covered with garbage. Her friends were still there, but now they were dressed in rags, picking up garbage and carrying it from one pile to another. “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. Yesterday when I was here, there was a golf course and we ate lobster and drank, and danced the night away, having a wonderful time. Now everyone is slaving away shoveling garbage.” The devil looked at her and smiled. “Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today, you’re staff!” (Tomi Thomas in ‘Spice your homilies’)
Have we learned that devil manipulates our weaknesses, particularly our carelessness and lack of intentional focus on the details of godly life?
A story is told of a wealthy woman who traveled to Europe with several friends. Her husband stayed home and played the stock market. While in Paris she found a fur coat that was the most beautiful she had ever seen. She sent a telegram to her husband that said, “Have found the perfect coat for only $50,000. What do you think?” He replied immediately with a telegram saying, “No, price too high.” Imagine his surprise when she returned home with that $50,000 coat. The angry husband said, “Didn’t you get my telegram?” “Yes,” she said, “and here it is.” The husband looked at that telegram which said, without punctuation, NO PRICE TOO HIGH.” He forgot to put the coma after NO. (John Pichapilly in ‘The Table of the Word’)
Have we learned that the only best way to fight temptations is by God’s power of deliverance?
Betty Hutton was a famous movie star and huge box office attraction back in the 40's and 50's. But, Betty Hutton became lost. Family problems, emotional problems, illness, bankruptcy, depression, and alcoholism stole her life away. In her trouble she cried to the Lord, and the Lord heard her cry. The Lord delivered her from the forces of wickedness, restored her soul, and called her life back to order, making her a new person. As a new woman, Betty Hutton made a comeback in the theatrical world playing Mrs. Hennigan in the Broadway musical Annie. At the first performance, the program notes contained extensive biographical sketches of the cast members-except for Betty Hutton. Under her picture and name were five words, “I'm back, thanks to God.” [James W. Moore, Some Things Are Too Good Not To Be True (Nashville: Dimensions for Living, 1994).] Somebody here today needs to experience down in his or her heart, God's great delivery and write on the biography of his or her life, “I’m back, thanks to God.”
Have we learned that even in our worst human life situations, we can always learn and start anew?
It is reported that Thomas Edison’s laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December 1914. Although the damage exceeded $ 2 million, the buildings were only insured for $ 238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison’s work literally went up in smoke on that fateful December night. At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year-old son, Charles frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, and his white hair blowing in the wind. Said the sympathetic son, “My heart ached for him. He was 67 –no longer a young man – and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me he shouted, “Charles, where is your mother?” When I told him I didn’t know, he said, “Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.” The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver his first phonograph! (James Valladares in ‘Your Words O Lord are Spirit and they are life.’)
As we all experienced in the past, the devil could be very persistent in tempting us, but we must not grow discourage when we have to face the same temptation over and over again. Being tempted is an opportunity to turn more fervently to God. With God’s help we can resist all temptations. God has the ultimate power of deliverance!