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Lead me into temptation – just one more time!

February 13, 2016

This lent I’ve signed up to a scheme called 40 Acts.

I get an email each of the 40 days of Lent with a short Bible passage, a reflection and a practical challenge. It’s only Day 4 but so far I’m impressed:
• The Bible passages have been apt and moving,
• The reflections have made me stop and think, and
• The challenges have pushed me, but not so much that I’ve just given up.

What has impressed me most is that the whole 40 Acts programme is meant for the real world. The world where I, and the people around me, need real love and care. I am reminded that real spirituality leads to practical action. How can I say that God is creator without caring for creation and my fellow creatures? How can I say, “Jesus is Lord” without ‘letting’ him rule here and now?

But I’m far from perfect. I know Jesus is Lord but, unlike Jesus, I find it so easy to give in to temptation. I find it so easy to live as though peer pressure, advertising and popular self-interest were Lord, not Jesus. I know that Jesus stood up to every temptation but I’m not Jesus; no I’m certainly not Jesus. I want to be more Christlike, I really do, but I find it so easy to slip. Steve Turner’s poem could have been written about me:

Lead me into temptation
just one more time.
Lead me up close
through circumstances
beyond my control.
Lead me then leave me.
Deliver me from escape,
increase my ignorance
limit my will.
Make me the victim of
a victimless crime.
Leave me ’til sin
is the only way out,
give me a taste of
what to avoid.
Leave me ’til it’s
your fault
yet guilt floods me
like a chill.
Then lead me back
into temptation,
just one more time.

That speaks for me, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone. There is no point denying it. Equally, I have no intention of taking it lying down. I know Jesus is Lord, he is lord of me and of all things. Thankfully, he is a patient and forgiving lord! He never condones my stupidity but he does help me up each time I fall. He knows the power of temptation, and the subtlety of the one who tempts. I am no match for Evil, but Jesus is. He’s like my big brother that steps in to keep me safe. My Father is the ultimate, “my Dad’s bigger than your Dad”! I fall, I fail, but it’s all going to be OK. I go back to the Bible, to prayer and my 40 Acts. It is all part of my growing up, of learning who I am as my Father’s son.

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