Do you ever take a really close look at yourself, at your character? Can you be honest in your assessment, or does pride get in the way? Are you doing the things that you know are right? One of my husband’s favourite quotations comes from Anatole France: “It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.” You know the right thing to do, the wise thing to do, but you don’t always do it. Maybe you get distracted or redirected, or you do things without thinking at all. Or maybe, for whatever reason, you give in to the temptation of doing what you know is wrong.
The Apostle Paul faced this same struggle. In Romans 7:18-19 he tells us that he wants to do good, but he doesn’t. He does the very thing that he doesn’t want to do. There was a constant battle within him, and there is a constant battle within us, between doing what will please God and doing what will please Satan. Satan is always trying to win our hearts, and is always presenting us with opportunities to mess up. Each time we take him up on it, he wins a small victory. But we can’t blame it all on Satan; we always have a choice. And more importantly, we have the power to overcome the temptation. What is the answer? It is not in the removal of temptations, because they will be with us for all of our lives. The answer is in allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us. This option is only possible because of the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Because He conquered sin, He fulfilled the righteous requirements of God, which allows us to be forgiven for all the bad choices that we make. We make a one-time decision to accept Christ’s gift of salvation, but we need to choose daily, sometimes hourly, to accept, to invite, the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives to fight the temptations that we face and to help us to make the right choices.
This is something that cannot be done without humility. Do you think you have it all together? Are you not willing to admit your weakness against temptation? Is your pride telling you that you don’t have a problem? If you were to be honest with yourself, you would see that we all struggle with this issue. (Genesis 6:5, Romans 3:23) The good news is that God delights in forgiving and healing the hurts of those who will humbly ask for help. (II Chronicles 7:14) Don’t let pride get in your way.