The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It

I always have choices. My problem is that I don't always make good ones. Though it is of some consolation to know that I'm not alone in my my struggle, I also benefit from knowing that, by God's grace, I can do better at decision-making.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul writes about beating his body into submission. His great "fear" was not finishing his service for Christ well.

He reminds his readers that even those most blessed by God can fail to make wise choices that glorify God. As 1 Corinthians 10 opens, the apostle uses Israel as an example. They had everything going for them and blew it. The consequences were huge: "…their bodies were scattered over the desert…some of them…were killed by the destroying angel" (10:5, 10)

Then comes the admonition: "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us" (10:11)

For most of us, the blessings of God on our lives are abundantly evident. In spite of all those wonderful gifts received daily from his generous hand, we still yield to the temptation to defy him, however "small" that defiance might be. Do I imagine that because I am his child and he loves me so and has blessed me so well, that the little stuff (or the bigger stuff) I do in spite of him, don't count? Or do I think that, because I am his beloved I am immune to temptation or to failing in the face of it?

Paul comes back with a response: "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man" (10:12, 13a)

The battle is still on, even though the war is won. And the war really IS won.

"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (10:13b).

A way out? We have been gifted with the Holy Spirit who provides for us the strength and wisdom to make right choices. Follow Christ's example of righteous decision-making, even when it means that we have to follow Paul's example of beating our bodies.

Like diet and exercise, spiritual discipline sometimes parallels the slogan: "no pain, no gain."


  1. YES - we want things to be easy, but they aren't. Excellent.


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