“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing…Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:1-15
“Don’t eat the poop,” I said emphatically. “Grace, this is a test.”
No sooner had the words flown out of my mouth than I knew there was a message in this.
I was standing at the window through which my ministry doggy Grace had just gone after climbing the ramp so she could go out onto the large terrace area in my New York City apartment when I saw the hazard ahead. A pile of poop left from the night before that I hadn’t noticed which I would most assuredly have picked up. First, out of respect for my neighbor. Second, to avoid the hazard. Hazard? I knew my dog’s history of eating poop. Ugh, yuck, disgusting, I know.
But so is our sin. Ugh. Yucky. Disgusting. Yes. And what had I told Gracie the dog? NOT TO EAT THE POOP. NOT TO DO WHAT WAS WRONG. I saw the test and temptation she faced. And I was warning her. BE CAREFUL! DON’T FALL! DON’T EVEN START IN THAT DIRECTION! Perfect name for this little story, isn’t it? GRACE.
By God’s grace, God warns us about temptations, He helps us with our tests, and He gives us the strength to SAY NO to wrongdoing and to say yes to Jesus and to God’s ways.
Are you facing temptation right now? Facing a test? DON’T EAT THE POOP. I know, it really is disgusting. But sin is a lot worse than disgusting. It’s dangerous and ultimately deadly. It hurts the Lord, it hurts us and others, and it’s a pathway we don’t have to go down if we turn to the Lord, seek His strength and will, and choose His way for His glory instead!