Daily we face temptation. Do we wrestle with it or do we give in and go our own way? How much of a fight do we put up to overcome temptation? I believe our inclination when tempted is to focus on that thing we cannot do, or cannot have. For example, chocolate chip cookies. I remember in years past, literally sitting, white-knuckled, clenching the arms of my chair because I REALLY wanted a chocolate chip cookie (well, truth be told, probably several chocolate chip cookies). My focus was those cookies I could not have. Silly example? How about gossiping about a co-worker? Or a woman from church? IF we even put up a fight to overcome, our focus is on the morsel we know about them that others do not or about the injustice of what they have done or… well you get the picture. Our focus is on the tempting thing.
Imagine Jesus facing the cross. If His focus was on the pain and the suffering He was about to endure, how could He have stood? More likely His focus could have been on the sin He was to become for us. The sin He would take upon His sinless, perfect, pure Self. If that was His focus, how could He have stood? But neither of these things were His focus. No. Rather His eyes were set on something far beyond the cross. His eyes were set on the prize, on the result, on the reward. His eyes were set on the joy that would result from His obedience. “… looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus had a long-sighted view of the cross.
I think we fail and fall in temptation because we have a short-sighted view of temptation. We are not looking beyond the temptation, the thing our flesh wants, to the glory that lies beyond the temptation. Our obedience will bring joy to us and glory to the Father. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Today, will you practice a long-sighted view of temptation? Look beyond the temptation to the glory that lies beyond.
Diane Hunt is part of the Development and Addiction Recovery teams at America’s Keswick. In addition to being a Biblical Counselor, she is a Women’s speaker for retreats, conferences and events. She is a regular writer for Victory Call and one of the authors of Crossing the Jordan Bible Study. She has been married to her husband John over 28 years. She has 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren and 3 adult step-children with 7 grandchildren making 10 in all. She delights reading and teaching, but mostly laughing at the funny things her grandchildren say and do.