Have you ever experienced the "temptation snowball effect"?
Come on! Sure you have.
Remember how it's all downhill.
It's when you don't react to temptation the way scripture suggests: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
It's like when that small snowball you created begins rolling downhill, getting bigger and bigger, picking up more snow, dirt, and disrupting everything that gets in its way.
Look at these two contrasting scenarios. Adam and Eve discussed and entertained the idea of becoming as smart as God, something a slithering snake suggested. Instead if stopping temptation in its tracks, they ate the apple. And like the small snowball, the rest of history went downhill.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn a different lesson. Jesus taught us a very important lesson in the desert. During 40 days in the desert, the Lord was tempted. But he resisted. He didn't hesitate. "Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matthew 4:10)
Get Thee Behind Me
People jokingly say, "Get thee behind me, Satan." But many fail to realize this is just what Jesus said, and just what he wants us to do.
Jesus used the same command when He spoke to Peter. "Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” (Matthew 16:23)
James teaches us a valuable lesson in his letter. "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15)
Put another way, spiritual death is waiting at the bottom of the hill.
Your Experience with Temptation
How many times do you think you've been tempted to do things contrary to God's Holy Word, his commandments, and the Holy Spirit’s promptings?
Temptation is universal and unavoidable. And each time, according to God's Word, "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." And He also provides "a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Temptations can be useful and instructive. They can be teaching moments, times to discover our weaknesses, and times to appreciate God's presence and protection in our life. Temptations can also humble us, highlighting our weaknesses and emphasizing our need for God's help and his forgiveness.
However, temptation can be a serious issue if the snowball is not stopped at the top of the hill. It's long-term consequences lead to loss of a job, home, health, livelihood, relationships, and hurt your relationship with God.
So, instead of holding that temptation snowball in your hand, feeling it and molding it, getting ready to let it take you downhill, let it melt away and move on.
In God's Words
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world." (1 Peter 5:8-9)
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:4)
In the Words of Others
"What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely." Journalist Franklin P. Jones
"Every time I say 'no' to a small temptation, I strengthen my will to say 'no' to a greater one." Mother Angelica
"I like to talk to myself ahead of time so when temptation comes, I've already made up my mind that I have the victory." Joyce Meyer