TEMPTATIONS AND DISTRACTIONS: DON’T GET CAUGHT UP!
This is a blog post I wrote for another site in 2015. Five years later I have recently finished that same fast and am humbled by the comparison between my 2015 self and myself today.
“I always get annoyed when I have to write because I never know what to write about. By the time I sit down to write, everything flows out of me as if I had been waiting to write the whole time. For some reason I am taking my time dissecting the scriptures in my 40 day fast book. The fast is over and I surrendered social media like a BOSS. But, studying the word, that struggle was way too real. I am still determined to finish no matter how long it takes me, so here I am on scripture number two from Day 1 and of course God makes it relevant to my current situation.
In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus has been fasting 40 days and 40 nights. He is hungry and to add insult to injury he is being tested by the devil. The devil is trying to get him to do three things:
1. Make bread and satisfy his physical need
2. Dare God to rescue him to satisfy his emotional need for security
3. Worship satan and receive all the power and riches to satisfy his pride.
Jesus resists these temptations and fights back with the word of God every time. The devil realizes he is no match for this dude and he leaves him alone. This scripture resonates for me because after my last blog I kept saying that I would write about distractions. I wanted to write about them because they are my current struggle. I wasn’t sure how to write because I wasn’t even sure how to deal with them myself. Then I read this and… I still didn’t get it. I started researching and getting further into it and My Life Application Bible broke down the different temptation tactics the devil was throwing at Jesus. I realized that temptations are nothing more than distractions placed in your path that you either pick up along the way or jump over. Lately I have been collecting all the distractions that I encounter on my journey. This has always been a test that I haven’t quite figured out how to pass.
My goal is to be more like Jesus. The first step is to understand when I am being tempted with things that were designed to distract me from my Destiny. Then I fight back like a ninja! …in the spirit of course and with the word of God. Which reminds me of how my current distractions were distracting me from studying the word! How can I fight back if I don’t even have the scriptures to fight back with? So I have a job to do, pass this test that I NEVER pass. This is affecting other areas of my life so it’s something I really need to do. I know that when I can push past the temptation to be distracted and free my mind up to focus on the things of God, I will win. Once I win I can move on and really start getting my life! I got this and so do you if you are in a similar struggle.”
Five years ago I was struggling with being consistent, disciplined and showing self control. I made misinformed decisions because I didn’t take the time to sit down with God to really understand what he wanted me to do. I had goals that I wanted to reach but I got distracted with the opinions of others and let them deter me from my plans. I let temptations of protecting my pride ruin important relationships and I got caught up in material things and let those determine my worth. Now that I have a more consistent routine and am able to set boundaries for myself and others, I am able to see how much further I would be if I had only done this years ago. When people see me now they sometimes think I am right where I need to be, but I still have a long way to go.
I was once asked what I do to stay balanced with life and spirit and I wanted to share it with you in case you are where I was 5 years ago.
Prayer: I had to train myself to pray and ask God BEFORE I make moves, decisions or have tough conversations. I try to ask him what he wants me to do, and I ask him to get involved so that if there is anything i’m not supposed to do he will cancel it right on the spot. This helps me ensure that I am making sound decisions and gives me more confidence in what I am doing.
Obedience: I try to do what I feel like God is telling me to do, right when he is telling me to do it. I used to hear God tell me something and then I would be too shy, afraid or embarrassed to do it. Sometimes there are other people in need of the thing God is asking you to do, and when you hesitate you are holding up their blessing or even their salvation.
Sacrifice: sometimes you have to give up somethings that you want, love or think you need in order to remind God that you are riding with him. Though it may feel like you are being forced to prove your love to God, when you do it you will find that it’s really for your benefit. I fast two days a week and on those days, I am most sensitive to the things that God wants me to know. He puts people on my heart to pray for or he reveals his next instructions to me. I’ve even let go of people that I thought I needed in my life and as soon as I did it was like a blockage was removed in another area.
Grace: There are days when you are going to bomb all of this. You aren’t going to be obedient because you just aren’t sure. You are going to forget to pray and you are going to eat food when you said you would fast for the day. So, this one is very important. Give yourself the grace that God has already given you. He wants you to be your best self so that you can have every blessing that’s waiting for you, but he isn’t sitting around making a list of all of your mistakes.
So run the marathon, don’t join the race! Just the fact that you have a heart to please God is the first step. Find a schedule that works for you, set boundaries for yourself and others and try to incorporate these words into your life. Ignore the distractions and temptations but if one day you fall, just get back up and keep going.