Luke 17

Here’s a new thought from Luke 17:  Temptation will always be with us, and according to Jesus these temptations come through others.We know that the real source of all temptation is the devil, he is the one who tempted Adam and Eve while they were still perfect.   And we know that the only reason temptation is possible is because we have free will.  If we lacked free will, we wouldn’t be able to choose to sin.   At times in my life I have briefly wished that I didn’t have free will, but that’s only because I didn’t realize what an incredible gift it is.  Nothing in all of creation has this attribute save you and I.  God created us in his image, which means we are free moral agents, just like God.  Nothing else can decide to say “no” to God.  Only you and I can do that, and we can only do it for a brief time…because the Lord has said there will be a day when “every knee will bow”, meaning our chance to exercise our free will to rebel against heaven will be ended.   The consequences of rebellion are steep: eternity in the lake of fire, without hope, without love, without God.
What does any of this have to do with temptation?
Even though the devil is the source of all temptation, we apparently are participants when we allow the devil to work through us.   I watched an online video of a string of matches standing with their match head ends facing up.  When the first match was lit, the flare caused the second one to light, and so on.  The whole string of matches began to light in a cascade…until (through the wonders of computer animation) one of the matches sprouted legs and took a step out of the line.  That stopped the transmission of fire, and the chain was broken.    
I marvel that you and I can do the same thing with tempting thoughts.  Instead of giving them voice, causing others to fear or become envious our jealous or whatever… we can take a step away.  You and I can choose to be positive, we are created in God’s image…we have legs; legs to take a step away from tempting situations and thoughts, and in so doing we can stop the temptation from moving forward.
True, temptation won’t go away because we do this.  Jesus said we would always have temptation with us.  But we can keep it from spreading as fast, and as far.
As I write these few words the Coronavirus 19 is still spreading through the United States, no wonder the thought seems so appropriate.   Oh, and one other thing: we are being told that two of the best things that you can do to combat the virus is to isolate your self from others (that would be stepping away, as I discussed here) and washing your hands. (that would be confession of sins).   As it turns out the two best ways to defeat a virus are the best ways to stop sin from spreading as well.
Loving Jesus, and loving you,