My steps matter
We've talked about this before, but it bears repeating: God doesn't tempt us! We WILL have temptation in life, but it doesn't come from God. He knows what we CAN and WILL bear - he will not allow us to encounter any temptation we don't have a way of ESCAPE from if we will trust him to help us escape! When we fail to resist temptation, that is ALL on us - we didn't turn to him for his help in the moment where we found ourselves going from 'zero to sixty' in a blink of the eye toward that temptation. When we turn to him for help, he is right there with the help.
Some of us might think God should just remove the temptation - because we are Christians and he wants us to live holy lives. It is almost as though we think there should be no effort on our part to flee the influence that is tugging at our hearts. To tell you the truth, if that were the way God treated us, by removing all temptation anytime it came, without any effort on my part, I'd get pretty 'flabby' in my faith! Faith is like a muscle - it needs to be exercised. There are just times when I will need to take a step and another and another until I see what I believe in my heart. I believe I can and will live above temptation, but I don't always take the consistent steps to avoid it, so I deal with it more than I should!
Did you catch that - I don't always take the steps to avoid it - so I deal with it more than I should have to deal with it. Truth is, we all find ourselves in this same cycle of 'not avoiding' temptation, coming face-to-face with it and then wonder why we are struggling. Temptation is much easier to avoid when it is out of sight and mind, isn't it? But...be right there in arm's length from us and it is much harder! I speak from experience here - sometimes we 'play with fire' and wonder why we get burned! The choices to resist are made not so much when we are faced with the fire as much as when we are not facing the temptation at all.
There is a great deal God can do in us when we are quiet with him - allowing him to bury his word deeply into our hearts and minds; showing us where we are our most vulnerable; and helping us to plan our path so as to avoid as much 'fire' as possible. We have a limited perspective - much like us looking out from where we are seated right now. God has a perspective much like the drone that could hover over us right now, getting a bigger picture of our lives. We have to trust his 'bigger picture' vantage point to keep us safe. We learn that when we are out of temptation's way - not as we are facing making all those wrong choices in the moment.
I think this is why I remind each of us to take time at the start of our day to center ourselves on his plans and purpose for our day. To seek his guidance, listening intently to his voice, counting on him to fill us with his Spirit and embrace us with his power. Scripture tells us to flee temptation - not to keep it at arm's length. God helps us learn how to put distance between ourselves and that which will pull us into sin. We take the steps to listen and learn, he takes the steps to teach and help! Just sayin!