Years ago, I was at the beach with my young son Jonathan, and we decided to go swimming. We weren’t very far from the shore. Suddenly there was one of those drops in the sand, and for a few moments, my feet didn’t really touch the ground. As I was holding on to Jonathan, a little riptide began to pull us over to the right, just enough to move us along. We were originally lined up with a lifeguard stand, but I noticed that it had moved quite a distance. We were being pulled along, and I couldn’t stop the drift. I kept reaching for the ground with my feet, but I couldn’t get my footing.
Suddenly the lifeguard came down from his stand and began running toward us with his flotation device. I didn’t mind being saved, but I was only a few feet from the shore.
“I’m all right,” I said, trying to wave him off.
But you know what? I wasn’t all right. I couldn’t stop myself. As he began swimming out, I thought, “I’ve got to get my feet on the ground.” Finally, I planted myself.
“I’m okay,” I shouted to him, and he waved and swam back in.
That is what temptation is like. You think you can handle it, but suddenly you are caught in its current. To pray we won’t be tempted and then place ourselves in a vulnerable situation is like thrusting our fingers into a fire and praying they won’t be burned. We need a healthy respect for the enemy we face and the temptation he will utilize in our lives.
“Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”
— James 1:14