“Bill cannot be tempted off his diet by a coconut cream pie,” I said. “He cannot be tempted that way because he hates coconut. Maybe chocolate, but not coconut.” Click! The light bulb went on for practically everyone. Suddenly they understood what it meant to be tempted.
That understanding can lead to all sorts of discussions and get you into some deep water, but consider this one thing with me this morning. I was “raised in the church,” as we often put it. I had parents who taught me right from wrong in no uncertain terms. Frankly, I have never even been tempted by most of the “moral” sins out there in the world. I know a lot of others in the same situation. But that doesn’t make us any better than someone who has just recently given his life to the Lord. I am afraid that sometimes we think it does make us better. When a young Christian tells me that older Christians look down on him when he says he still struggles with sin, I know we think so.
Yet how does the fact that you have never struggled with a certain sin make you stronger than one who does? In fact, since you have never struggled with it, how do you know you could win the fight at all? There may be other temptations that cause us to fall, and not needing to fight one doesn’t mean we would be any better at fighting others.
It only shows how weak we are when we pride ourselves on the fact that we have never been tempted in certain areas. Ironically, that very feeling is our weakness, the thing that tempts us, and the thing in which we usually fail--pride, self-righteousness, unjust judgment, and a failure to love as we ought.
What is your coconut cream pie? What distaste keeps you from even being tempted in one area, and as a result, makes you fail the test of humility? I might have to have a piece of pie while I think about it.
And he spoke also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; but he that humbles himself shall be exalted, Luke 18:9-14.