James 1:12 NRSV

Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. (James 1:12 NRSV)

There are times when all of us are tempted. None of us ever escape some form of temptation. Of course, some of us are tempted more than others.

William Willimon tells an amusing and yet sad story about something that occurred in a Women's Thursday Morning Bible Study he was leading in his church. The group was studying Jesus' temptations. Dr. Willimon asked the group, "Have any of you ever been faced with temptation and, with Jesus' help resisted?"

A young woman who was attending her first Bible Study raised her hand. Verleen was different from the rest of the women present; she lived on the wrong side of town. "A couple of years ago," she began, "I was into cocaine really big. You know what that's like! You know how that stuff makes you crazy." She told the women that a few years before she and her boyfriend robbed a gas station. "It was as simple as taking candy from a baby," she said. That night her boyfriend also wanted to rob a convenience store, but something inside of Verleen told her it was wrong. Her boyfriend beat her up for refusing to go along with him but she felt good saying no, "cause that was the only time in my life I ever said no to anything," she told the group.

Through the stunned silence Dr. Willimon muttered, "Well, er, uh, that's resisting temptation. That's sort of what this text is about." He then led the group in the closing prayer.

Temptation is relative. We need to be aware that there are people who are tempted daily with situations that you and I cannot even imagine.

Dear Jesus, help us, your people, to win the battle with temptation. Amen.
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