“Someone’s shooting up the bank!” A frantic man screams at you as you pull up in front of your local bank. Sure enough, machine gun fire ricochets through the air, and you can just make out a crowd of masked men inside the building.
“It’s okay,” you reassure the hyperventilating man, slinging your cute purse over your shoulder. “I just have to make a quick deposit—I’ll just slip in and be right back.” With that, you bounce off across the parking lot, not a care in the world.
Unless you are secretly Clark Kent just waiting to do your magic in between the two sets of glass doors that lead to the bank, you’re not going to make it out in one piece. You’re going to be riddled with bullet holes, and people will sigh at your funeral that “it didn’t have to be.”
But here, as you may have guessed, is the part where Nathan points his finger at David and says, “You are that man.”
I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a Superman-complex when it comes to temptation. I think that somehow I can go on Youtube when I’m supposed to be accomplishing other things and only watch one necessary video. Three hours later, I emerge filled with machine gun fire. “I guess that wasn’t such a great idea,” I decide.
I subscribe to the fallacy that I can visit my favorite store even though I’m not spending money right now. Mayday in the temptation department!
I somehow continue believe that when my alarm rings in the morning, I can turn it off and lie back down on my pillow “just to wake up.” I’m not sure why it hasn’t clicked yet, since I always end up popping my eyes open an hour later.
I know every fact about myself—pet peeves (bad grammar!), foods that merit a “no thank you” helping (green olives!), and my favorite of everything. Yet, somehow, when it comes to knowing my own sin nature and its weaknesses, I hem and haw, and dig up some decent-sounding decoys of temptations so I can sound righteous. I like to shove my greatest weaknesses into the farthest corner of the darkest closet, only thinking about them when spring cleaning comes around. And when that day comes, and for two weeks I refrain from giving into temptation, I feel very self-righteous indeed, but don’t gird myself up for the long haul.
I love how Pastor Matt Chandler discusses this topic in his own life in this video, starting especially at 1:45. So take a look at this (and, by the way, if you are unfamiliar with his story, check it out here—it’s sure to bring tears to your eyes).
Ever since I saw that snippet a few months ago, I have been unable to get his honest admission out of my mind: “I can’t follow sports too closely. I’m just too immature.” He didn’t say “I won’t” or “I choose not to, and no one should because it is frankly a complete waste of time.” He said quite simply, “I can’t.” John says the same thing: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9)” The thought had never before occurred to my dense brain to admit that I have certain areas of weakness, certain areas where temptation is so strong and so inhibitive to spiritual growth, that I am simply not capable of even dipping my toe into those things. To realize this and imagine that I can still control how much I give in is to imagine that I can walk into a bank heist to make a quick deposit and come jauntily out again. Foolish in the extreme.
Pastor Chandler also said, “I always want to be really aware of where my affections are, and the effect that things have on my affections.” Just like I get on the scale or look in the mirror, I need to seriously evaluate my affections. What effect did that movie have on my affections? What effect will this trip have on my affections? What effect did that conversation have on my affections?
Every person lives with her sin nature every moment of every day, but rare is the person who actually knows her sin nature’s tactics, tricks, and tastes. After living with my wily sin nature for twenty years, I think that I’m finally ready to meet it, examine it under a microscope, and seek the Lord’s grace in defeating it. Job 13:23 is the cry of my heart, “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin.” I’m done walking into banks under machine gun fire. I can’t anymore.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Picture Credit: El Nomadiq