Preparing For Our Day Of Temptation
By now, we know about “the slap heard round the world”. I’m talking about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, the host of The Oscars over the weekend, for making an off-handed joke about Will’s wife, Jada, shaving her head like a soldier due to an illness.
This has everyone from all genres and backgrounds giving their take as to who was right, who was wrong, and what they would’ve done if placed in a similar situation.
If I may, I'd like to add 2 more cents to a goldmine of wisdom that can be gained from this conversation, based on my Christian experience...
Whether you're a believer or a “not-yet” believer, you probably have heard what a believer is expected to do in the type of situation Will found himself in.
Yes, we’re called to “turn the other cheek”, and take the high road after an offensive event -- like an injurious comment being made directly at our spouse, resulting in them being visibly rattled to their core. Yes, we are commanded to bless the other person who hurt the one we love, and not curse the other person with intense vitriol.
But as we all know from human experience, there is a button that - when pressed from the outside - can ignite an explosion on the inside. This can trigger a reaction we regret later, whether we are Christian or not. So now that we know that we each have proclivities that can entice us to miss it (and miss it badly), especially in our personal areas of susceptibility, what can we do to better prepare ourselves for that moment of tailor-made temptation and testing?
Eating is a natural part of life and sustenance. Our Creator gave us to partake of, so we can live. However, many times I find myself not eating to live, but living to eat! That’s because eating can have such a pull on me that the natural desire to eat, if not checked, can cloud, overshadow, and even stifle my spirit’s desire to partake of the things of God.
This is where 'fasting' comes in. Fasting is when we don’t feed our bodies food or drink for a period of time. Instead, when we’re legitimately hungry, we choose to feed our spirit. How? With the Word of God -- marinating it with prayer, seasoning it with praise, and digesting it via meditation. This process prepares us to stand toe-to-toe with our enemy on that evil day of temptation successfully, like Jesus did, and not succumb to our temptation (like how I have done so many times in private, or how Will Smith recently did in public).
As much as the results of fasting from food can yield spiritual power to overcome intense temptation, I have discovered that God tends to ask me to fast from things other than food to bring about the same result. For instance, I love Twizzlers! I just love them. I can buy a family pack, watch a movie, and eat them all to my heart’s delight (pray for me)! God has a way of challenging us to prioritize Him over the things, people, and even situations we enjoy the most! So because of this, God has been leading me to fast from Twizzlers for about 6 months.
Did I do it? NOPE! I didn’t fast. I tried to convince myself that it couldn’t be God speaking to me about such a trivial thing. But over time, I recognized it was Him.
What happened next? I still disobeyed. The pull was just too great! During that time, however, I would sometimes fast from food for a period of time. I sometimes wonder if the fast from food counted to God because it really seemed like He really wanted me to lay down those Twizzlers. Since I was fasting from something God never asked me to fast from, did it count? I’m not sure. But by the grace of God, after much struggle, I finally decided to put the Twizzlers aside at the foot of the cross. It’s been a few weeks now. The desire to have some is still there (even right now!), but it isn’t as intense as it was a few weeks ago. I give God all the glory for that.
When we bring our temptations to Him, whether instantly or in time, He truly makes our burden lighter...
I believe this fast is preparing me to overcome a future "intense day of temptation". I also believe that God has been speaking to each of you, and nudging you in a direction to lay something other than food (maybe TikTok, maybe Netflix, maybe sports) in your life to prepare you to overcome your "intense day of temptation". My 2 cents? Put whatever He's telling you to lay aside, ASIDE. When you do, you won’t have your mountaintop experience (finally winning an Oscar) overshadowed by a decision made in the deep darkness in the valley of unrighteousness.
“If it had not been for The Lord on my side… where would I be?” is the rhetorical question the Psalmist asked in days of old, and is a spiritual song & hymn we still sing today. There is so much truth in that question that it tends to mix with emotion that wells up from deep within when we think about what God delivered us from, and the jams He got us out of that many times we put ourselves in from willful disobedience.
But there is another side to this equation, which The Lord continually tries to build into us as we continue our journey with Him. What is it? For us to not be so concerned with whether we're right or they’re wrong, to not be so concerned with who-gets-the-credit and who-does-not-get-the-credit, to not be so concerned with who-gets-the-blame and who-does-not-get-the-blame -- but to acknowledge that neither one/neither side is really that important in the grand scheme of things.
If you're on His side, then it doesn't matter whether what Will did to defend his wife was right or wrong.
If you're on His side, how you act or react during your own heated situations or temptations doesn't matter.
What TRULY matters is laying our own heated situations, and temptations, at the foot of the cross of Christ. How is that the only thing that matters? It prepares us for future days of "intense temptation". It prepares us for the challenges that lie ahead...
...and being prepared the way God tells us to is the definition of victory!
Brian Chrichlow is a devoted husband, father of two beautiful daughters, and partners with his wife to lead Changing Lives Christian Center's PRE-TEEN MINISTRY. His intellect and humor positively affects everyone around him! In his spare time, he can be found fellowshipping with the men of CLCC, spending quality time with his family, or acting on stage for a CLCC holiday play!
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