Places of temptation and trials are not easy or fun! And right away, as I read those words: trials, temptations – my flesh starts to quiver with uneasiness. Conversely, we don’t need to be tempted to stay somewhere that’s easy – where there is no pressue, no conflict – no temptation.
I don’t need to be tempted to stay in a fun place, whether sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows or receiving flowers on valentines, or going to a movie that we both want to see. These easy places of living are not – under a trial. There is no temptation. But an easy place with no pressure can quickly turn into a trial of temptation. How about a win fall of cash? (who doesn’t love THAT surprise). But before you’ve even received the funds; there’s been a slight shift in the invisible world and each of you are going to enter your own trial.
No more easy.
You want to renovate your kitchen (which is in desperate need) and your husband wants to renovate the basement (also in desperate need). Heat from the pressure of each person wanting their own way begins to enter the marriage in the form of temptation – the temptation to push against the other person.
What will be done with the cash? Explaining to each other, again, why it should be the kitchen/basement, and finally, after much more ’reasoning’ with each other … he yields. Yay!! You have won your way; you are going to have a brand new kitchen! He will see it will be so much better for both of us in the long run.
But did you really win? Yes, you may have won your own way in the natural, for the life you have in the here and now. But in the big picture, who yielded and brought the conflict to an end and kept the unity? Who was patient under trial and stood up under the temptation to want to seek their own way?
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. -Jam 1:12, emphasis added
It’s the one who went into the fire to wrestle against the temptation to choose their own way (way of the flesh) to instead, choose the way of the spirit (the other person’s way).
Who gets the eternal reward of defeating temptation – the one who chooses flesh or the one who chooses spiritual maturity?
Next post – Flesh Versus Spirit (Part 2) – The heat, David, and Jesus