January 15, 2019
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
There it was.
Carved in wood.
The evidence could not be denied.
Anna dropped her kids off at school and then went home to clean up a bit. She removed a hairbrush, school papers and yesterday’s jewelry from her dresser. And there it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
And a name.
L-i-l-l-i-a-n … carved into the top of her dresser’s walnut surface.
Seven-year-old L-i-l-l-i-a-n hadn’t even bothered to hide the weapon used to commit the crime. The nail lay just where she had left it. Right on the dresser by her name.
It was a tough six hours as Anna waited for her 44-inch, 49-pound lump of love daughter to get off the school bus. This was not a good day.
“Come with me,” Anna said to little Lillian. “I want to show you something.”
“What’s this about?” Anna asked, pointing to L-i-l-l-i-a-n carved into the wood.
Lillian’s rosy lower lip quivered, her green eyes filled with tears, and her face turned autumn red.
“I’m sorry,” she whimpered with bowed head.
“What were you thinking?” Anna asked sternly.
“Well,” she began, “last night I was waiting for the boys to finished their shower so I could take my turn. I saw the nail and picked it up. At first, when I thought about carving my name on the dresser, my mind said ‘No, no, no, don’t do it,’ But the longer I waited, and the longer I thought about it, the ‘No, no, no, don’t do it’ turned into ‘Yes, yes, yes, do it.’ And I did. I knew it was wrong, but I just had to do it.”
Anna got down on her knees and held Lillian’s guilty cherub face in her hands. “That’s how the devil works,” Anna said. “He creeps in when we don’t expect it and tells us to do bad things — wrong things — but it is up to us to say ‘No.’”
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” Lillian cried. “I’ll never listen to the devil again.”
Anna is my niece. As she told me this story, I saw myself in young Lillian. I wonder if you did, too.
Temptation lies right in front of us — like a nail just taunting us to scratch an itch. At first we say “No, no, no,” but the longer we wait around and fiddle with it, the more likely the “No, no, no” will turn into a “Yes, yes, yes.”
What’s the answer? Don’t wait around and fiddle with it! Walk away. Right away.
Paul wrote: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
That’s true whether the temptation is flirting with that married man at the office, having one too many glasses of wine, searching for an old boyfriend on Facebook, sharing a juicy morsel of gossip with a friend, or carving your name in your mom’s dresser with a nail.
I love that Lillian said, “I’ll never listen to the devil again.” Oh, don’t you wish that were true? For Lillian. For me. For you. But we will.
That’s when I thank Jesus for the nails — not one, but three — that pierced His hands and feet so we can be forgiven. Jesus forgives us when we fail and restores us when we fall.
It’s called G-R-A-C-E … and we all need it.
Dear Lord, when I encounter temptation today, help me walk away right away. Give me the wisdom not to fiddle with it, the strength not to give in to it, and the courage to turn my back on it. Thank You for always providing a way out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)
Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (NIV)
This year, give your husband the gift of grace-filled prayer. Sharon Jaynes’ book, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe: A Daily Guide for Scripture-Based Prayer, will show you how to cover your husband in life-changing, powerful prayer that will impact your marriage, your man and even your own heart.
Do you sometimes seem to be searching for a “magic key” to unlock all the answers to life? But what if the key for Christians is simply asking, “Do my daily decisions reflect my love for Jesus?” Join us for free in the First 5 mobile app starting this week, as we study Proverbs: The Beginning of All Wisdom. Click here to learn more!
Click over to Sharon’s Website for a FREE downloadable coloring book journal based on her book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence, filled with powerful Scripture and quotes.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5. List at least five things King David should have done differently to turn away from this sin. Then, think of the last time you really messed up. Think of five steps you could have taken to stop the progression.
How does today’s devotion remind you to turn to God when you face temptation? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
© 2019 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 15 January 2019.