Monday, August 2, 2010

Seduced by the Sundew - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 189

“Teach Us to Pray: Seduced by the Sundew”

By Rev. Greg Smith

“Our Daily Bread” says:

“In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the "sundew." It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim (Our Daily Bread, December 11, 1992).”

At some point, each of us finds ourselves seduced by the sundew. My biggest temptation may be no temptation at all for you, and the thing that lures you the most may have no effect on me. But each of us has our weakness, and nobody knows how to exploit our frailties than Satan. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4; Luke 4) must have been the source of this prayer. Both gospels say that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil. This does not mean, of course, that God was the tempter. St. James the Less tells us:

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15 NIV).”

God does not tempt us, but allows Satan to do his worst. God knows that it’s good for us, in the long run. So James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4 NIV).

In the desert, Satan tempted Jesus with three things: First, he tempted Jesus to satisfy his fleshly appetite instead of satisfying the demands of the spirit. Next, he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would simply bow down and worship the devil. Finally, Satan tempted Jesus to trust in supernaturalism rather than in the simple knowledge that God was leading Him. How often do we test God by demanding supernatural signs, rather than simply trusting Him? How often do we try to establish kingdoms for ourselves in this world, rather than simply following God? How often do we put our own desires above God’s desires?

These are the fiery darts that Satan hurls against believers all the time. Our answer should be the same as Jesus’ answer. Don’t debate with the devil. He’s a debate champion. Just speak God’s Word back at him and turn away.

“Lead us not into temptation” is our prayer (Matthew 6:13 NIV). Perhaps the best way to avoid temptation is to stay out of those places of temptation! Don’t be seduced by the sundew. Ask yourself instead, “What would the Son do?”

No comments: