“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
I love to go mountain biking whenever I get the opportunity, and when I am up for the challenge. The last time I went mountain biking was a few weekends ago. It was great! I went with my friend Graham in the George Washington National Forest. During our ride Graham and I talked about the different obstacles and challenges on the trail when mountain biking and we shared stories of dangers, close calls, and crashes. You can really get injured badly on a mountain bike ride if you aren’t careful.
I was telling Graham about how I teach these obstacles and challenges to new riders so that they do not get injured. The method that I use is the five R’s. The five R’s that challenge someone on a mountain biking trip are: rocks, ruts, roots, rivers, and rubbish. Most of these five R’s are challenges to the mountain biker because they steer you in the wrong direction, much like a train on the wrong track. These obstacles can also catch your front wheel and throw you if you hit them wrong. When riding next to the five R’s, especially roots or ruts, one can get their wheels stuck on a course that they did not intend to travel, and that course can lead to destruction. The five R’s can draw you away from the safe trail you are on, or force you off course or into a bad crash. Desires and temptations, like the five R’s, can do the same thing in our lives. These can lead us to sin; a major crash and burn.
When riding and encountering these many obstacles, as in life, it is work to stay the course. If we do not navigate away from the desires, temptations, and sin in our life through God’s Spirit and power, we will end up crashing and burning, just like in mountain biking and the challenges of the five R’s. I was telling Graham that it is best to avoid the five R’s all together, so that we do not crash or have to deal with the dangers and the risks in the first place. It is better not to have to deal with these obstacles at all if possible. However, if we must encounter them, it is best to hit them head on and not let them lead us to their ultimate end, a bad crash. For example, when mountain biking, you usually hit a root perpendicular and pop your wheel so your bike will go over the root and avoid a crash. Basically, you avoid the obstacle by going over it. You resist it!
The Author of James, Jesus’ half brother, tells us that we are blessed when we endure temptations. Much like the rider who gets to enjoy a satisfying and safe ride when avoiding the five R’s, or by navigating them properly, the person who endures temptations and does not get caught in the “ruts” that lead them to destruction will enjoy a blessed life. We must resist getting “drawn away” from “the ride” that God has in store for us by our own enticements, desires, sins, and temptations.
May we stay on His course for our lives and not be drawn away and enticed! May we enjoy the ride!
Staying the course by His Power and Grace,
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Jas 1:12-15