There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. (Ezekiel 20:43)
There’s something about Charlie Brown, Lucy, and a football that makes me cringe every time I see it coming. It’s the same old story: Lucy baits Charlie Brown to kick the football, Charlie Brown questions if Lucy will trick him, he gives in, and he faces the consequences. We all know what’s going to happen, and yet Charlie Brown always takes the bait.
I think that temptation is kind of similar, isn’t it? Temptation baits us. Come on, it’ll be good. You’ll have the time of your life. It’s just what you need right now. We give into it, and then we end up loathing ourselves afterward. If we stepped back to see the situation, we could clearly know what’s going to happen. It’s just that we think this time will be different. We think that this time the consequences won’t affect us. This time we won’t feel the guilt. But it’s not different; they do affect us; we do feel guilt.
Temptation has a way of making us believe that what we’re about to do is the absolute right thing. It’s the old bait and switch. It’s fun in the moment, but we feel like garbage when all is said and done.
So here’s the challenge: call temptation for what it is – a liar! Go ahead, say it out loud. “Temptation, you’re lying to me.” It may sound goofy, but it also may be the very thing that you need to hear in order to remind yourself that what you’re about to do will only lead to deep regret. Don’t give into temptation; you’ll only regret it later.
Lord, give me wisdom to call temptation what it is: a liar. I always feel like this time will be different, and I should do this thing that’s tempting me. The truth is, things never works out the way I expect. Please help me to see the bait and switch, and give me courage to stand up to it.