Just because you have a cigarette in your hand, it does not mean that you have to smoke it, because your neighbor left a package on his doorstep, does not mean that you can take it. A strong drink in your hand does not make it to your lips unless you put it there.
We live in a world of temptations, not all of yours are considered temptations by me, and mine you would not think twice about, yet all of them are common to mankind. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
We live in a world of temptation by design, they are in front of us daily for a reason, to show us the Lord’s mercies, both in our desire not to fall into those traps, and when we do, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” (Matt. 6:13) is written in the Scriptures to teach us to lean upon the Lord, to ask for strength when they arrive, because they will, we all know this. And just as a side note, we do not need our adversary to place them in front of us, although he is exceptionally good at this, we are quite capable of finding and pursuing them by our own free will.
Recall that Eve was tempted and fell, Adam made a conscience decision without temptation, he brought the sin upon himself in part because of it, but it was not the main reason that he ate of the fruit. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15) Here is the tipping point, if you will, which comes first, the lust or the temptation? All who call Christ Lord when they fall or succumb to a temptation are grieved when it is finalized, when they acquiesce to it, yet “I’m sorry” is heard much more than repentance, for it is not in our nature to turn completely away from that which our sinful flesh desires, we want what we want, and many times the cost is irrelevant.
We attempt at times to blame our flesh, even Paul said as much, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) Yet when we come to the realization of the truth, it is not some “mystical” entity called “The flesh,” it is not Satan, it is us, we want what we want.
There are those, none of them saved I believe, that the Lord has given over to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28) they have decided that temptations are the way of life, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) These are their desires, and so, in a way, they have become the answer to Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” It is not the entirety of the world they seek, even the wealthiest man, even the greatest king, does not own everything, but in the world of these individuals, they attempt, and many times succeed, in gaining nearly all of their heart’s desires. Problem is, they are only temporary satisfaction, the flesh is never completely satisfied.
But we try, don’t we, we either seem to be spending our days, or at least some of them, denying those temptations, or skirting around them, maybe not fulfilling them completely, but perhaps just glancing at them, imagining what it would be like, allowing our minds to contemplate them just a little longer, and then pulling back from the edge of sin. Many do this on a regular basis, and then employ 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Using it in the same manner, so to speak, that the Roman Catholic cult uses their confessional booths.
Others will simply continue to feel bad about themselves, even when the slightest thought flirts quickly through their mind, feeling shame when it is not required, when strength in the Lord is what they should be seeking for. We get to live with this my brothers and sisters, right up until our last breath, right up until we are glorified.
Because something is available to us does not mean it is right, good or healthy, either physically or spiritually, here is where temptation looks directly into our face. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Cor. 6:12)