Right now I am studying James with the help of Beth Moore's study "Mercy Triumphs." This week in my homework (page 81 if you are curious) she posed a question that made us think of a time when an act of obedience could only have been a move of the Spirit.
My thoughts flew to times I have let go of white-knuckling my will in a storm-tossed attempt to sail away from temptation and instead asked Him for help. Sometimes something in me doesn't want to ask for help because I know it will come swiftly, washing over me like a flood. Like a riptide suddenly carrying me away from the wicked shore of destruction. Cool, calming, cleansing water rushing over me and speeding me from the unnatural and uncomfortable gaiety calling on the sands of "Pleasure Island."
I have confidence His help will come, yet something in me is drawn like a moth to the flame that will burn my wings and leave me a dried, tattered husk sinking in hot wax. Everything in me knows that giving in will only lead to pain and emptiness yet ... we call these things temptation for a reason. The siren's song calls to that part of us that makes us human rather than divine. Our free will says "perhaps THIS defiance is true freedom" yet we know we will come away filled with heartache; a soul hungover with regret at our indulgence.
The only strength I need is not to steer my ship into the gale, fighting with screams of fury against the stinking wind that would bash me on the shore ... but to utter, even if in a whisper ... Help. HELP. Hurry Lord, I need help so badly I don't even want it!
He is my rescue and my relief. He washes away the shame I feel at even being tempted. He is my conquerer. When I am on the brink of the temptation being too much all I have to do is speak and angel armies break loose on my behalf.
When deep down I know that obedience is best I delight in knowing His Law, knowing that this temptation isn't right and knowing I can call on Him to help me. Never have I regretted the rescue. Experience and His Law reassure me that His way is best.
Temptation is a given. Holiness and righteousness are not achieved by not being tempted or Jesus would never have experienced it. We share in His Holiness and Righteousness when we ask for His help and are overcome by His strength, His power, His healing to scoop our feeble minds and battered hearts from the waves.