An Unfortunate Condition
Because of my spiritual family tree, I have an unfortunate condition; I am addicted to poison apples. Succulent, crisp, sweet or tangy, this fruit haunts me. The first bite doesn’t disappoint. Juicy, delicious—and I take a second mouthful. When I am not indulging, I think about this delicious fruit often. Yet, in the back of my mind, I know these apples I crave are poisonous; meant to destroy me. I constantly battle with myself—my desires vs. my inner wisdom.
You know what I am talking about—you crave poison apples too. The bible calls them “temptations”.
The Apple Giver
As a young believer, I thought the devil only tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness, But, both Mark and Luke give us a clearer picture. Satan bombarded Jesus with every “poison apple” he could think of, for almost a month and a half. He was a relentless enemy.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. (Luke 4:1-2 NIV)
Jesus treated every temptation, large and small, as deadly serious. He understood a truth we conveniently forget; our enemy is out to destroy us. This means none of Satan’s temptations are ever harmless or minor.
Just a Tiny Drop of Poison
Each temptation contains only a little poison. The effect is minimal. But like arsenic, the poison accumulates. One day, you tell a ‘little white lie’. It doesn’t hurt anyone. And it saves you embarrassment.
So you tell another. Where’s the harm?
Soon personal dishonesty becomes a tool in your toolbox. Until one day the poison accumulates to toxic levels. Your lies begin damaging key relationships. Trust evaporates. You lose your children’s respect. You lie to the IRS and get penalized financially. You lie to your doctor about taking some drugs and wake up in Intensive Care. You lie while under oath, and face perjury charges.
Over time sin always has horrible consequences.
The Master of False Advertising
Saying yes to any temptation is foolish. Munching poisoned apples frequently leads to grieving hearts and ruined lives. It’s meant to. Our enemy designed it that way. He’s the master of false advertising. In contrast, Jesus is the master of redeeming lost souls and healing broken lives.
So, which master are you going to obey? The one who destructively tempts you or the one who helps you escape?
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (I Corinthians 10:13)
All images come from Pixabay.com.
Of all the devotions I’ve written, “A Poison Apple a Day” is my favorite. It has been re-published here with permission from the website Christian Devotions at christiandevotions.us.
I love this website. Each day’s devotion is by a different author, so each has a unique flavor and viewpoint. The “author’s list” tab will give you access to all my writing on this website. Just click on my name to pull up my list of devotions.
One additional piece of information:
The editors at Christian Devotions accepted and published the first piece of writing I ever submitted. They also host an annual Christian writer’s conference at The Cove every February. Their critiques, advice and encouragement have been invaluable.