Getting Real About Temptation

A number of years ago, I heard evangelist Kelly Green tell a story that I’ve never forgotten. It’s about how an Eskimo kills a wolf.

When an Eskimo wants to kill a wolf, he takes a knife and sharpens it until it’s razor sharp. Then, he dips it in the blood of a seal that he has killed. After dipping the knife in blood, he sets it outside in the cold so that the blood freezes. Then, he dips it again and again, freezing layer upon layer of blood on the blade until it becomes a sort of “blood Popsicle.” (This sounds disgusting to us, but it’s delicious to a wolf!)

When the process is complete, the knife’s blade is hidden, just like a Popsicle stick. He then takes the knife out into the wilderness to a place where a wolf is likely to pass by, and buries the handle of the knife in the snow, so that the blood-covered blade is left standing.

Eventually, a wolf will come along, guided by his sense of smell. He will discover the “bloodsicle” and begin licking it. Over and over, he’ll lick that blade, enjoying every taste. Soon, the wolf’s tongue is numbed by the frozen blood, but he keeps licking until he exposes the razor-sharp edge of the knife. It cuts into his tongue without the wolf even knowing it. Now, he’s unknowingly eating his own blood.

As he loses blood, the wolf gets weaker and weaker, but he can’t stop licking the knife that is killing him. Eventually, he collapses. The next morning, the Eskimo finds the wolf’s body – trapped and destroyed by his own taste for blood.

That story – grisly and sickening though it is – is a powerful illustration of how the temptation to sin works in our lives.

We see something that we want. We go after it, disregarding the danger. And we wind up reaping the destruction of our sin. It’s important that we not fool ourselves about the reality of temptation.

As James concludes his discussion on temptation, he gives this warning: 

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:16, NKJV)

In the area of temptation, there are some things that we never need to be deceived about:

First, don’t be deceived into thinking that you are immune to temptation and sin. Even in the areas where you feel strongest spiritually and morally, you are still vulnerable. The Bible says: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Second, don’t be deceived into believing that sin has no consequence. The Bible is up front about saying that sin offers passing pleasures for people to enjoy (Hebrews 11:25). But there’s always a price to be paid for sin. God says: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Third, don’t be deceived into thinking that certain temptations are irresistible. God knows you. He loves you. And He promises never to allow a temptation to come into your life that you cannot face, escape, and overcome. The Bible says: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Fourth, don’t be deceived into assuming that when you sin, it’s too late for you. God does not intend for us to be forever doomed by our sin. Instead, He has made the way for our sins to be cleansed and forgiven. His Word says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9, NKJV).

Have a great day and keep moving forward!

Suggested Bible Reading

1 John 1:5-11 

Prayer Guide

Today as you pray … 

Get real with God by acknowledging and confessing specific sins in your life to Him.

Ask Him to forgive your sins and to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. 

Praise Him for the blood of Jesus, who paid the price for your sins to be taken away from you.

Ask for His grace and power to overcome the temptation and sin that most often ensnare you.