First Things First
“And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Oh my, look at all the temptations that are placed before everyone each day. Yikes!
One of the descriptions of temptation in Webster's Dictionary is: “to appeal strongly to”. A footnote in a Bible (NLT) states: “...temptation is often the combination of a real need and a possible doubt that creates an inappropriate desire.”.
One temptation is the constant lure to continue excessive shopping. A friend is an enthusiastic and regular garage sale person. When she finds a “have-to-have” purchase at a garage sale, she will try the bargaining routine to try to persuade the seller to reduce the item. If she is successful, then she leaves with a smile on her face, because it was “such a good deal”.
Other people enjoy cruising the web to make what appears to be an unnecessary purchase. They are currently hungry, they go to the web and find a website that sells homemade high-end cheesecakes with cookie-crumb crusts. Among some of the flavors are: chocolate, amaretto and key lime. Is that not a yummy high-priced temptation?
In the Book of Haggai, a theme discusses putting first things first. Under God's instructions, the Jews had returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. The rebuilding had been slowed down and finally put to a halt by their enemies. There had not been any work done for over ten years.
This is where the prophet Haggai came into the picture. The LORD “sent a message through the prophet”. The message was: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while My house lies in ruins?”. The people had given into the temptation of not putting first things first. They put all their energies into beautifying their own homes, and allowing their enemies to detain them, instead of putting God's assignment first, and that was to finish the Temple.
Jesus was also familiar with temptations. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus was in the wilderness and had not eaten for forty days and forty nights. During that time, He was tempted by the Devil three times. Each time Jesus resisted the temptations by responding with quotes from the Old Testament scripture.
God's community of believers ought to gain knowledge from the above examples. It is quite easy to fall into temptations. I am not saying that His people should not shop, or should not take proper care of their homes, but in order to sort out whether the desire is a “real need” or a temptation, they need to attempt to learn how to put first things first by recalling the example of Jesus when He resisted the Devil and his temptations. Jesus recalled Scripture.
Lord God, thank You for showing us how to resist many temptations. Help us to learn to recall the Scriptures. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington