These last few days, I’ve really wrestled with a particular temptation. Yet, as I reflect and submit myself before God, I find that the scary reality is not that I have fallen to temptation—rather, that the lacking of conviction to surrender and submit certain areas of my life to God. It is not that I do not recognise that I should submit, it is not that I do not recognise the dangers and pitfalls of sin, it is not that I think that I’m able to “just quit” at anytime. Simply, the greater temptation, and the true struggle with sin, is that I still wish to live life my own way—I still want to call the shots.
As I sat in reflection on my struggle with temptation, incidentally as we’re discussing temptation at youth group, I came to realise that my struggle with a particular temptation, while challenging and sickening, was nothing in comparison to the temptation of living my life my own way, rather than living my life God’s way. The issue of temptation is secondary to the greater temptation of living life God’s way. After all, it was the very same temptation which faced Adam and Eve in the Garden.
It’s not simply a Sunday school mantra of “we should live according to God’s ways”, it is a daily struggle and temptation to surrender and submit our lives completely to Him. It is not simply in the areas of tangible sins: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, evil-intentions, slander, and crude language (a sample list taken from Colossians 3). It is exactly the Sunday school mantra of “we should live according to God’s ways”—that is, we seek in Him and through the enabling and power of His Holy Spirit, to live a life that is full of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with others in love, forgiveness, thankfulness, love, and the list goes on (again, a sample taken from Colossians 3).
The aim of this great, and original, temptation/sin is not that we, necessarily, “do the wrong thing” but that we take our eyes off God. If temptation doesn’t cause us to do wrong, but causes us to take our eyes off God, then it has succeeded. The guise of temptation may be different for each one of us, but the motive of temptation was, is, and always will be the same—to take our eyes off Christ.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)