None of us are immune to temptation. Just imagine that time when you were a kid and there was a giant bowl of Christmas M&Ms in the dining room. (Side bar, I don’t understand the point of having a strictly decorative bowl of small candies even as an adult but I digress). Your parents tell you time and time again to not eat the bowl of M&Ms. They won’t notice if I eat one or two right? So you start to eat a few M&Ms. A few more wouldn’t hurt, no one will ever know. But before you know it, you’re eating M&Ms by the handful and when you reach in for another, you panic: all the M&Ms are gone. You put the bowl back and hope your parents don’t notice, trying to decide if your stomach hurts due to guilt or M&Ms. When your parents confront you when they inevitably notice the empty bowl, they are greeted by you getting sick from all the candy. And I haven’t been able to look at M&Ms the same since.
Sometimes, our temptations are driven by a need to fulfill baseline human needs, i.e. being hungry and eating candy. But in a moment of desperation, you might eat too much or get carried away. That is exactly what Proverbs 5 is talking about. Solomon warns that rather than wondering “how much is too much,” we should rather avoid the things that we know are temptations for us entirely.
While it may be tempting at the time to pursue something, even justify why it is a good thing, Solomon warns that “…in the end [temptation] is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edge sword…her steps lead straight down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.” Temptation is not a person and does not know or care if you
lose sight of what you are pursuing. Temptation can come in all shapes and sizes, but it is something that we are all prone to one way or another.
So what do we do? We should earnestly seek the Lord’s provision in all areas of our lives to prevent this temptation from sneaking in. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No matter what temptation it is, big or small, seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom. Even when it’s deciding how many M&Ms to eat. Allow the Lord to come into that place and speak truth and love into your life rather than the empty promises and unfulfilling lies of temptation. Some days may be harder than others, but at the end of the day: the Lord is the giver of life and invites us to find freedom from temptation with Him. – Katie Hufnagle
Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. What happens when someone goes without instruction or guidance when faced with temptation?
2. What has temptation looked like for you in the past? How did you rely on God’s wisdom?
3. What are some ways you can turn your ear to insight from the Lord?
4. Take some time to write a prayer to God.
Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. Why do you think it is better to seek God rather than our temptations?
2. Who are people in your life that hold you accountable to seeking Godly wisdom?
3. What are other instances in Scripture where someone fell into temptation rather than listening to the Lord?
Prayer: Read Proverbs 5 and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, you are the giver of life and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for guiding me into the goodness of your word and promise. Help me in my times of struggles to seek you and to find life in you. I am sorry for the ways I have given into temptation, both big and small, knowing I am forgiven but still wish to pursue you each and every day. Guide my steps in the coming days and help me to see you in new and transformative ways. I love you. Amen.