In this Sunday’s article, I would like to discuss the subject of temptation and I will use the subject of horticulture or gardening to make some comparisons between weeds and temptations and, if we allow them to fester, how they can negatively affect us both physically and spiritually. Now I am not the resident expert when it comes to planting gardens or grassy lawns and maintaining them, but I have gained a little experience over the years. Both weeds and temptations are two problems that we strive to stamp out and avoid in their early stages because of the strong potential they possess to grow into something much bigger which can cause much damage. When we are talking about being tempted or temptation it means to prove, try, or to test and, in a negative sense, to attempt to entice or persuade someone to do evil as in the case where Satan tempted and tried to persuade or allure Christ to sin in Matthew 4:1-10, verse 1 says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Also keep in mind that our faith can be tested and tried by God in order to strengthen and build up our faith. James 1:2-3 states, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” An example of this is when God tested and proved Abraham when He told Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac, Hebrews 11:17 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” Please never forget that our Lord is against sin and will not tempt us to do evil, as the Bible says that Satan is the root cause of sin, see 1 Peter 5:8. This is also clarified in James 1:13-15, “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 an enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Getting back to our comparison and illustration between weeds and temptation, both of them are undesirable because of their destructive natures and should be avoided and resisted, however, because of the acute ability for weeds and temptation to regenerate themselves, we must be vigilant and prepared to keep them from overtaking us. When we are talking about weeds, we find that there are many different types, and from my experience it appears that when you think you have gotten rid of all the weeds in your garden or lawn, a new type of weed pops up from origins unknown. A question to our readers, what do you think is the worst weed to kill or get rid of? Now, your responses to this question will be different based upon factors like experience, climate, location, whether it is a garden or lawn etc… From my experience, since I have worked mostly with lawns, I think one of the worst weeds that you may face in your efforts to maintain a garden or a lawn is the dandelion. Following is what is said about the dandelion on the Roundup Website, Roundup is a product that is used to fight against weeds and to keep them under control, Roundup says, “Dandelions spread easily thanks to their seeds heads which contain hundreds of individual seeds. Dandelions are deep rooted weeds, so if you decided to remove them manually it is important to pull up the entire plant so as to avoid regrowth. A practical way to get rid of them, is to use a weed killer like Roundup for dandelion plants that kills the plant all the way down to the roots, killing the whole plant. If you have ever tried to pull up a dandelion weed whole, often the stem or the stalk of the weed breaks off leaving the root structure in place just to grow back out later. Moreover if you manage to pull up the dandelion whole after it has already produced the head of white seeds, many of these seeds will dislodge from the plant and float through the air like a parachute spreading more dandelion weeds throughout your lawn or garden. Consequently, weed removal is a necessary part of gardening and it is best to remove weeds as you see them to prevent them from becoming established in your gardens and to stop them from suffocating your plants and your lawn.
In like manner the same is true with our spiritual battle with temptation. We must be able to identify and weed out temptation to prevent it from taking a stronghold which can develop or turn into sin and unfortunately spiritual destruction and a severed relationship from Jehovah God. Now to re-emphasize, we read earlier in this article James 1:15 that talks about what temptation can lead to for it says, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” When we consider the same question previously asked about which is the worst weed and apply it comparatively to temptation and ask what do you consider to be the worst temptation for mankind today? Again, your responses would vary because there are so many temptations that plague us today as Christians and the temptation that is a challenge for one person may not be a challenge to another person depending upon their faith and spiritual maturity. If we had to narrow it down to one of the worst temptations, then one could say that human pride is probably one of the worst internal temptations that we have because our pride can be, and often times is, the root cause leading to so many transgressions. Like the weed killer that stamps out the weeds, we must apply a daily and steady dose of God’s word to extinguish and stamp out human pride or any temptation that may challenge us spiritually. Proverbs 16:18-19, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” We must realize from within because of our sinful natures that temptation can originate from within us, see Mark 7:20-23.
Weeding or removing temptation both internally and externally is paramount if we are to surely make heaven our home in the near future. The best way to do this is pray to our Father and ask Him to help us overcome temptation and deliver us from evil, for He has promised to be with us every step of the way, Mark 14:38 says “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” We must also equip ourselves with the sword of the spirit and follow Christ’s example, for He has provided us with a way of escape from temptation, read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Hebrews 2:18.