Life is tough. Temptations are difficult. It goes without saying that Satan, the great tempter, knows our weaknesses, for he knows that “… all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Yet, just as he knew that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights and immediately hit Him with his first temptation to attack Him there, he knows our greatest weaknesses and hits us there. We do not like to think about our weaknesses—we accentuate our strengths and diminish our weaknesses. In a certain sense, this is not a bad thing; it is only human of us to do so. However, the difference is whether we are diminishing our weaknesses publicly while striving to deal with them, overcome and solve them, or whether we are simply hiding them while privately reveling in them. Consider how the Bible describes our weaknesses. What is your forbidden fruit? The weakness for Eve was that fruit: “And when [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” (Gen. 3:6). For her, it became a tremendous temptation.
What is your forbidden fruit? Is it cigarettes? Is it alcohol? Is it money? Is it cars? What is your forbidden fruit? Where is your Sodom and Gomorrah? When Lot and Abraham separated, Lot saw the well-watered plains of the Jordan River Valley and moved his family “in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Gen. 13:12). Yet, the very next verse states, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13). Later, God told Abraham of what he would do to the cities of Sodom. Knowing that his nephew lived there, he pleaded with God to spare them if he could find ten righteous souls. Yet, it was to no avail. As Genesis 19 describes, Lot and his family fled from their home before God destroyed those wicked cities with fire and brimstone. By inspiration, Peter commented,
For if God…spared not the old world… and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly, and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (2 Pet. 2:4-9)
Where is your Sodom and Gomorrah? Is it the casinos? Is the bar to meet singles? Is it your girlfriend’s bedroom or the back of your car in a dimly lit area? Where is your Sodom and Gomorrah?
Who is your Goliath? We all remember him—in First Samuel 17, he was the champion of the Philis tines that harassed the Israelites every morning and every night. In fact, he would not give up—he did so for forty days (1 Sam. 17:16). He was relentless. He was merciless. He struck fear in them all, including the mighty king, Saul—the one who stood head and shoulders above all other Israelites (1 Sam. 9:2). Among the enemies of God, there was no one more ruthless. He was a thorn in their side until a young boy named David came with complete faith and trust in God and killed him. Who is your Goliath? Is it your spouse who abuses you mentally and berates you emotionally? Is it your coworker who laughs at you because you are a Christian and ignores your feelings with crude language? Who is your Goliath?
Therefore, you may need to avoid some things (forbidden fruit). You may need to avoid some places (Sodom and Gomorrah). You may need to avoid some people (Goliath). The prayer that ought to be on our lips is the one Jesus taught us: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).