Tempted? – First Corinthians 10:12-13

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

During the season of Lent, many work on their spiritual disciplines.

It may be that they are tempted to work too much, play too much, eat too much, spend too much time on those little computer screens that dominate our lives – you get the picture. So, they buckle down and turn to healthier, more spiritual practices.

Unfortunately, it is also “tempting” – right about now – in this tough, disciplined spiritual work – for many of us to just give up.

We meant well. We were sincere. We really did want to get closer to God BUT….

Again, you get the picture.

So…here’s a word of encouragement from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. Don’t. Don’t give in – and don’t give up.

Even if you think you do not have what it takes to meet those daily spiritual disciplines – Paul says it is OK. Why? Because God has already provided a way out of that particular temptation.

Of course, there’s a catch. You have to LOOK for it.

The way is there. The way is there past the temptation, past the discouragement, past the tendency to take the easy way out – whatever might be sweetly calling your name. The Way is there – it is the loving, supporting, strengthening presence of God and it may come in some unexpected way or through some unexpected word of support.

But it is there.

Surely Paul must have been discouraged – tempted – to stop following the Way. After all, he suffered greatly for his faith – far greater than I ever have.

So, if he could do it – with God’s help – I can at least try to be just a little more faithful – even when temptation is at it’s worst.

How about you?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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