LIV­ING OUT LOUD Re­sist­ing temp­ta­tion

The Covington News - - Religion - Jan Mccoy Colum­nist Jan Mccoy is as­so­ciate pas­tor of First United Methodist Church of Cov­ing­ton. She may be reached at

I have dis­cov­ered this prin­ci­ple of life — that when I want to do what is right, I in­evitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is an­other power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a mis­er­able per­son I am! Who will free me from this life that is dom­i­nated by sin and death? Thank God! The an­swer is in Je­sus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I re­ally want to obey God’s law, but be­cause of my sin­ful na­ture I am a slave to sin.

Ro­mans 7:21-25 (New Liv­ing Trans­la­tion)

If you ask any­one who knows me well what my fa­vorite dessert is, they will tell you chocolate. It’s re­ally hard for me to re­sist. I have no trou­ble re­sist­ing things that I don’t like or that I am al­ler­gic to, but I find it al­most com­pletely im­pos­si­ble to re­sist chocolate. Hol­i­days that re­volve around candy are in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult for me. I think to my­self, “Just one lit­tle bite…” and be­fore you know it, I have eaten an en­tire candy bar. I can­not re­sist the temp­ta­tion to eat that one lit­tle bite … or the bites that come af­ter it.

I know what the Apos­tle Paul meant when he wrote, “when I want to do what is right, I in­evitably do what is wrong.” It’s as if I were be­ing con­trolled by an­other power. Paul calls that power “sin.” The “sin” power that ex­ists in us tells us it’s OK to do the wrong thing, and even takes over with urges and de­sires that some­times are very hard to con­trol.

But Paul gives us a word of hope. In our­selves alone, we can­not stand up against these urges and de­sires, but be­cause Je­sus died on the cross to de­feat sin’s power in our lives, when we love Je­sus and ask him to live in our hearts, he gives us a new power — the power to re­sist the urges of sin. The Holy Spirit works in­side of us to give us strength and power to say “no” to those sin­ful urges. On our own, we can­not re­sist the power of sin, but thank God, through the Holy Spirit work­ing in our lives, we no longer have to give in to the power of sin or to the temp­ta­tions that chal­lenge us. We will al­ways have those temp­ta­tions to do what we know is wrong, but when we rely on the Holy Spirit’s power in us, we can say “no” to those temp­ta­tions.

With what un­con­trol­lable urges in your life do you need the help of the Holy Spirit to over­come? Have you asked Je­sus to live in your heart to help you over­come those urges?

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