When you are tempted, He will also provide a way out

so that you can stand up under it.
I Corinthians 10:13

Some things you read, are just imprinted on your mind like photographs. And every so often something you experience or something you observe brings them back to your mind’s eye just as vividly as when the first impression was made. Such is this essay I read by Portia Nelson. It reads, “I walk down the street. There’s a hole in the sidewalk and I fall in. I’m lost; it isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to get out. I walk down the street again. There’s a hole in the sidewalk, but I pretend I don’t see it, so I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place; still, it isn’t my fault. I walk down the street again. There’s a hole in the sidewalk I see it, but I still fall in ~ it’s a habit. But now my eyes are open and I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the street. There’s a hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it! Finally, I walk down another street!”

Oh, My Friends, I don’t know whether or not you can relate to this, but I think it’s been the story of my life and has caused me so much sorrow, guilt and pain! Let me give you my translation. “I am walking through life. Temptation is in my path and I fall in its trap. I’m devastated, but it really isn’t my fault. Satan tricked me! It takes me forever it seems to get over the guilt and shame. I am walking through life again. I am faced with the same temptation, but I PRETEND I don’t see it, so I fall into the trap again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place; still it isn’t my fault (so I say!). Satan tricked me again! I am walking through life. I am faced again with the same temptation. I see it, but I still fall in ~ now it’s a habit. But this time my eyes are open and I know where I am. It IS my fault! The choice is mine alone. I get out immediately. I am walking through life. I am faced with the SAME temptation. I recognize it as the same trap the enemy has used before. I resist it through the power of the Holy Spirit. FINALLY, I take another path through life!”

Those of you who are acquainted with me are wondering what that temptation is. I say IS, rather than WAS, because I am still faced with it on occasion. Suffice to say, I have a strong tendency to try to find security on my own, rather than depending on the Lord. It can lead to problems. But it is not in my best interest to declare that temptation in this blog.

Those of you who are my close friends probably know what it is, for you have been there beside me the whole time, helping dig me out of the trap and regain my self-esteem. Jesus knows, for He too, was right beside me all the way. But YOU know what that temptation is for you. Is it a trap that you keep falling into repeatedly? It may be what some people would consider a small sin, such as a bad temper or a stinking attitude. It may be something with far more lasting consequences such as alcoholism, drug addiction, chronic lying or sexual impropriety. I don’t have to know, but if after reading this you recognize it, then you are at the last stage of this analogy. It’s time that you recognize it as a recurring trap of Satan, a habit and something that only you can resist through the power of the Holy Spirit. Habits are not easy to break, even with God’s help, for as the Apostle Paul says, the flesh with its desires has a mind of its own. But it is not impossible, for ALL things are possible with God! If there is something in your life that is making you miserable because you keep falling into the same trap, leading to guilt and depression, it’s time for you to repent, turn around and take another path of the Holy Spirit’s leading!

I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me!
Philippians 4:13



And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:13

Have you ever prayed this verse before? You probably have. I know I have.  It’s a part of what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” By the way it’s worded in the King James Version, it  sounds kind of like God would lead us into temptation. Not so! The Bible plainly tells us that God tempts no one…“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” (James 1:13 NLT)

The verse from Matthew 6 in the New Living Translation reads this way, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” And listen to the verse in The Message Bible…“Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.” I kind of like that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “Father God, save me from myself!”

I know you’ve heard the old saying coined many years ago…“The devil made me do it!” Well, for one thing, it’s not very likely that the devil or anyone else could make you do something that you sincerely didn’t want to do. Now you may know that it’s not the best thing for you. You may WISH that you didn’t want to do it. You may even pray for the strength NOT to do it. But if you don’t exert some restraint on your part, it’s likely that you WILL do it. Even the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest men of all time, who wrote most of the New Testament said this...“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:21-25a)

Don’t get me wrong, God will help you if you really rely on His strength and draw from the power of His Holy Spirit within you. Paul plainly says so. But the fight between good and evil is an age old battle that will not be abated until the end of time, when Satan’s ultimate defeat is enforced and he is banned from roaming the earth.

But Jesus didn’t leave us defenseless when He returned to heaven. He gave us weapons of warfare that we can use very effectively. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT)

We definitely are in a consistent battle with a very persistent enemy every day of our Christian lives. Some days maybe more so than others. God’s Word tells us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8 NLT) Then He gives us the antidote in James 4:7, “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 AMP) We resist him by putting on our armor and “having done all to stand, we stand firm!”




Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:1-3

As I was having my devotional this morning, the Lord started speaking to me, not verbally of course, but in my spirit regarding the challenges I have been facing lately. I like to call them challenges, because that means they can be overcome with God’s help. For the Word tells us , “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

The Lord used the analogy of a rose. You know, you can’t pluck a rose and leave the thorns behind. The rose comes with the thorns…the beauty comes with the briar…the petals come with the prick. We can choose to focus on the thorns or the rose. Our attitude will be determined solely by the focus of our choosing. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to stare at the barbs when you have unfolding before you lovely silken petals? Wouldn’t it be foolish to sacrifice the soothing aroma for the anxiety of the prick? So life is like a budding rose. Each day unfolds anew with awesome beauty and fragrance. But many times, along with the beauty comes a thorn or two. Sometimes it seems that there are more thorns than petals! Continue to focus on the flower. Continue to revel in its beauty and fragrance. When you do, God will make a way, not to avoid the thorns, but to overcome them.

Go back and read our scripture verse again…slowly to let each sentence sink in. It tells us that Jesus had thorns to overcome…literal thorns. Not only so, but He shed His own blood on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for our sins, past, present and future. He chose not to focus on the thorns, but on the throne! He was joyful about the final outcome…our salvation! Oh, how much He loves us! So consider Jesus when you feel the thorns of adversity. Consider Jesus so that you don’t become weary and discouraged in your soul. You haven’t striven so much that you shed your own blood the way He did. Be thankful for the Rose of Sharon who took a crown of thorns so that we might…“have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)