“…And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
This following story is quite famous as far as I am concerned. However, I still feel like sharing it here because of the lesson I learned from it.
There was a monkey who promised to God that he would not eat bananas of any kind anymore. After the declaration of his promise, he decided to continue living life as it was—minus the eating of banana.
Until one time during one of his journeys, he found a basket full of delicious-looking bananas. These are the brightest yellow kind of bananas. Just like any other normal warm-blooded monkeys, he felt his heart skipped a beat in excitement but shook his head right away denying the presence of a former favorite meal right before his eyes.
“I made a promise. I am not going eat these delicious-looking bananas.”
After saying this, he forced a step forward. However, the image of the delicious-looking bananas with that bright yellow skin which must be covering the sweet and creamy fruit meat inside it kept floating in his head. He thought if it was great to the sight, the smell must be that great, too!
The praying monkey talked to God, “My Lord, can I go near it? I promise not to eat it. I just want to smell them, please?” Then he went near to the basket of bananas. He smelled them and he was right, the bananas were great to his smell. He could even smell the sweetness of the fruit meat inside.
Another idea crossed his mind and he felt he wanted to feel the bananas against the palm of his hands. Thus he said another request which was just to touch the delicious-looking bananas. And surely it did feel great to touch.
He even smelled some more until he could not control it anymore and said another prayer. “My Lord, I will just peel them but I won’t eat them. I promise!”
After that, he was so quick at peeling them and to his great pleasure, he was right! The fruit meat inside looked so sweet and creamy. Surely it would taste really good! The praying monkey who made a promise not to eat bananas anymore suddenly found himself chomping off a basket full of delicious bananas.
I find the story funny the first time it was told to me with that animated act from a friend from church. This story is an illustration how oftentimes we Christians fall to sin. Just like the monkey above, he met an object of temptation along the way and right that very moment, he had a chance to take a different route as fast as he could, knowing that he was weak and could not stand longer next to the object of sin. But he did not. Instead, he took another look at the basket of bananas, giving sin a stronger opportunity to grow fast.
And sin would not stop until it gets accomplished and so the wrong desire along with it grows stronger as we entertain the object of the sin longer. This what Joseph well understood in Genesis 39:12 that he ran out of the house away from Potiphar’s wife, the object of sin in the story. Therefore, he was successful fighting not to fall into sin. This happened because the grace of God was upon him which enabled him to run away from sin.
Here I learned that being tempted is not a sin itself. When we encounter an object of sin, we always have two options: to linger there until we give in to the sin or to run away as we continue asking for the grace of God to enable us fight the sin.
Two thousand years ago, a great man who was also God died on the cross to win the victory for us. That is the victory over death and sin. Before He ascended to heaven, He gave us the authority and power to overcome evil. He even assured us that He would be with us always wherever we are, wherever we go. All we need to do is to accept His gift of eternal life by believing in Him as our personal savior and Lord. He was, and is, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The grace of God is beyond all understanding. There is no special place or time to claim the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ but now, wherever you are. Tell God that you want Him to be your personal savior and God. Believe in what Jesus did for you. And ask Him to enable you to see His glorious will every moment of your life. That would be the start of the greatest and the most beautiful relationship you could ever have.
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