Ever see the Hunchback of Notre Dame? I wonder if he got that condition from carrying too much in his sack from home to work and school? I have been carrying a backpack for decades, and feel the accumulation of soreness, despite soft, padded straps.
I see reports every so often of people visiting emergency rooms for backpack related injuries. One parent said he was in the Army and kids today are often expected to carry bigger backpacks that what he used to carry. No wonder so many children and teenagers are hunched over.
While all of us should be concerned good posture and healthy habits, there still exists a weight problem affecting every man, woman, and child on the planet. That is the issue of temptation. What are you being tempted to do today? What temptation is weighing you down? To lie, cheat, steal, be lazy, bully someone, watch porn, ease up on your values, or slough off at work?
The good news is that despite the long-term challenge temptation poses to all of us in the human race, God knows all about the weight problem facing us. The even better news is that He has given us a way to lighten the load. The process to relief and victory involves recognizing temptation. But since most of us find ourselves hunched over a lot due to the weight of temptation, we may have a hard time looking up and seeing the way out that Jesus provides.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.
In his letter to the Christians at Corinth in the first century, the apostle Paul reminded his fellow travelers of instances where the Israelites had yielded to temptation in Old Testament accounts. Paul seemed to think the Corinthians might be standing tall and strong in their newfound faith (v 11-12) and did not recognize the dangers lurking around in their contemporary setting. Even though the Hebrews were God’s elect, they could not dabble in sin, idolatry, and immorality and be free from its consequences (v 6-10). Consider a few lessons that Paul presented at Corinth.
First, learn to recognize when temptation comes calling your name. Sadly, some of us get so used to the weight that we don’t notice the pressure anymore. Know the ground rules of God’s Kingdom so you understand how King Jesus expects you to conduct yourself. Reading and deciding to live according to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a good start in The Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7. That way you’ll have an anchor to hold onto when temptation attempts to get you weighed down by enticing you to walk away a bit from the ways of Jesus.
Second, remember that, “the kinds of temptations weighing us down have also been experienced by others” (see v 13). Even Jesus was tempted in every way we will be (Hebrews 4:15), but He overcame the momentary challenge and will help us too. You are not alone.
Third, and most exciting, is the reality that when we are tempted, God will provide a way out so we can stand up under it (v 13). God wants each of us to learn to say that we do not have to give in to sin when or while we are tempted. We have better and healthier options.
Paul argued that God provided an alternative to giving in (and up). He said we can rise up from under the allure of temptation and look for the way God wants us to go. There is no longer a need to be hunched over. Think theologically. Don’t wait, but flee temptation’s weight.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz