It was just one of those mornings. Not a bad, “just one of those mornings”…but a good one. I woke up earlier than I had planned and decided to go workout; something that I had really neglected to do faithfully these past few months. I don’t know what it was but I just felt like it was going to be a great day. I rolled down the windows in my Buick Lesabre, turned up the radio and was on my way to Planet Fitness.
I walked into the gym, looked around to see what cardio machine I would do first. I didn’t want to go for the usual elliptical type workout, it was getting boring. So, I decided to do the stair climber. It looks like a short escalator with a steeper incline. About ten minutes into this “climb”, I thought I was going to pass out, I was sweating, out of breath and hardly had the will to continue. “I’ll power through one more song on my playlist”, I thought… “ and then call it quits”, it was the only way I could mentally make it a few more minutes. The song ended and so did I. From there I did other strengthening and toning exercises. It was a good morning.
Got home, showered and dressed for the day. Robyn, packed me a healthy lunch; dark sweet cherries (my favorite) and a green salad with grilled chicken. I’m telling you, it was a good day. Energized from working out and anticipating a very healthy lunch. I could practically feel myself getting fit by the minute. You see, we have been discussing fitness off and on in our family. My “20 somethings”, have been telling us how we, their parents, need to be more concerned about our health and more conscientious about the foods we eat. Gluten, fried foods, red meats and sugar have been topics of shame. Well, I couldn’t wait to get to work so I could text the kids about my work-out and show them a picture of my lunch. Even, the bad traffic on I-65 couldn’t rain on my “good day parade”. Instead of complaining, I filled my mind with the Word by listening to the book of Acts on my phone.
Getting up early, exercising, eating right and filling my mind with God’s Word had bolstered my attitude about the day. I was almost at work, when I started thinking through all the things I needed to do; staff meeting, upcoming sermon series preparation and church calendar coordination were at the top of the list. I was on Thompson Lane by this time and was headed east…I think, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a red neon sign. Not just any old red sign, it was a “HOT NOW” Krispy Kreme sign.
I never noticed that sign nor knew what it meant until about a year ago when my daughter Raychel “exposed” and informed me as to its meaning; hot donuts are fresh and ready. Before I knew it, my car was in the center lane with its left turn signal on. Somewhere in the back of my mind there was a voice whispering loudly, “No Ray, don’t do it. You exercised, packed a healthy lunch and are having a great day.” But, I had already pulled into the parking lot and had rolled down my window in anticipation. “It’s not too late to back out and turn around.” Nope, I was stuck, a car pulled in behind me. Must be God’s will ☺. “I’d like one hot donut…and…” That still small voice screamed “AND…!” I couldn’t just get one donut, how weird would that be. …“And get me a crème-filled chocolate donut as well.” I’d eat it later that day.
My commitment to better and healthy eating was going out the window. Before, I could talk myself out of it, I ate my hot donut, no… I inhaled my hot donut. I’d save the decadent one for later. I pulled into the church parking lot, grabbed all my things and headed for the door. Walked into my office, sat down all my things and did my regular routine. Turned on my lamps, turned on my music and started hot water for tea in my Keurig. I began working on my “to do list” for the week but didn’t get very far because that other donut kept calling out. It wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I’d get nothing done, so my “later”, became “now”. I bit into that chocolate crème-filled deliciousness and suddenly my “good day” of health and fitness turned quickly into succumbing to temptation.
I want you to hear me, I’m not saying that we should not enjoy a donut or two occasionally, but my commitment was tested and I failed…BIG time. In reality, that’s the way it is. You decide to lose weight, stop gossiping, resist pornography, break off that relationship, spend time in God’s Word, or whatever it is you resolve to do, and then the test comes, the “red light” of temptation comes knocking; your coworker starts a juicy conversation about the boss you can’t stand, a “pop-up” on your computer gets your heart racing, chocolate cake is in the breakroom, you wake up too late and have no time to read your Bible… temptation is all around.
In a much more serious situation, Jesus was facing the most excruciating temptation that anyone will have ever faced in history. Jesus was about to be arrested, tried and eventually nailed to a cross for the sins of all mankind. He had his closest disciples with Him, to watch and pray. But temptation got the best of them and all they did was sleep.
I believe Jesus’ admonition is the key to dealing with temptation. Be alert and pray. Don’t go out in your own strength and try to do this on your own. Look for the “enemy”, be aware of his schemes, be prepared for battle; all the while PRAY…depending on God’s strength. Call upon the name of the Lord. He is near! He will answer you. This seems so simple and maybe even sound a little cliché-ish. But it is truth. We cannot do life’s battles on our own.
I had started my day off with a feeling that it was going to be a good one. I did all the right things and really felt confident in all I had done but I was not prepared for temptation to come my way. How about you? You’ve resolved to do what God has called you to do, how are you going to handle the temptation that WILL come? Take heed and listen to what Jesus said… “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Let us not become careless and naïve. May we not be lulled to sleep by the temptations of the flesh. My prayer is that God will keep us alert, vigilant and certainly prayer-filled and dependent on Him!
Every day this week, as I pass the Krispy Kreme and the red light is on, it is a reminder to me to “Watch and Pray”!