The Temptation to Rely on Myself Instead of God
Deuteronomy 8:2–10; Matthew 4:1–4
In the nearly century-old folk tale, “The Little Engine that Could,” we read of a train with a small engine having the determination to assist a larger locomotive over a high mountaintop. Through fortitude and might, the undersized train was able to save the day. The most quoted line from the story, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” has served as an inspiration for young and old alike to not give up when obstacles seem impossible to overcome.
When it comes to meeting our wants and needs, we can fall into the trap of believing our way and our strength is the best choice for happiness or success.
When we choose to sin and succumb to temptation, we are making the statement that we know better than God what is best for us and that His holiness is secondary to our pleasure. God did not design us to meet our needs through our own determination — He wants us to depend on Him.
We are often tempted to satisfy God-given desires in the wrong way. (Matt. 4:1–4)
Do you realize every desire given to you by God is both healthy and for your enjoyment? Food to eat, someone to love and even recreation are all good gifts bestowed on us by our loving and benevolent Father.
Each of these examples can also be avenues for sinful choices if we pursue them to satisfy our desires with the world’s supply. God desires each of us to trust in His provision and not to allow the temptation of the flesh to blind our pursuit of satisfaction.
Consider the two examples of physical hunger and intimacy with your spouse. Both desires are given by God. If hunger is not met in a healthy and godly way, we open the door to gluttony, unhealthy choices and a long list of medical issues. If we do not honor the vows and covenant of marriage, sexual sins including perversion, pornography, adultery and other devastating choices will become a source of temptation.
We can be tempted not to trust God’s provision. (Deut. 8:2–5)
These powerful verses remind us of the power of forgetfulness. He reminds the people of His repeated provision for their benefit. Read these verses closely. They serve as a call to remember what God has seen them through.
Tough times, adversity and struggles are all synonymous with the Christian life, but God reminds them He never neglected them or their needs. Through the lowest of times, God was able to teach them humility.
God provides when we trust and obey Him. (6–10)
Every minister has a repeated theme or important principle he desires his congregation to apply in their daily lives. For the last year or so, mine has been, “Trust and obey!”
I believe it is a primary theme and one of the brightest threads in Scripture. The cycle of God’s people obeying is always followed by God’s blessings. If something is lacking in my life, it is not because God is not able. It could be my lack of trust in Him. He will never disappoint! His riches are unlimited, and His provision is boundless. Can you trust Him? I know you can, I know you can, I know you can!
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi