April 14, 2020
Overcoming Temptation Every Day

by Kristin Hicks

Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.
James 1:12-13
I have lost count of how many times recently I have heard people say, “The Lord doesn’t give you any more than you can handle.” Admittedly, there are many of us feeling that sense of weight on our shoulders, that feeling of being overwhelmed. We are weighted down by the daily news, by the isolation. We are overwhelmed with worry for our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Struggling just trying to make it through the day; many of us trying to work and teach our children at the same time.

When I think about this kind of theology, I am reminded of our APC children who play a game with the blocks stacking them as high as they can until they tumble down.

I do believe that God gives us courage and strength and wisdom in times such as these so that we are able to bear much and help others. I don’t believe God is piling things on each of us to see how much we can take before we come tumbling down. God doesn’t tempt us in this way.

So how do we stay strong and courageous and keep our spirits up while we are socially isolating? How are we not tempted into despair and worry? How do we cope? How do we keep our piles from tumbling over?

I recently came across an article online, written by Brooke Anderson, that suggested 6 Daily Quarantine Questions, to ask yourself each day. I share it with you today as I believe it is a great way to keep our minds and bodies healthy and keep our spirits from being tempted so that we might be able to keep our piles from tumbling over. I share these questions here and add an additional seventh question:

Daily Quarantine Questions:
1. What am I GRATEFUL for today?
2. Who am I CHECKING IN ON or CONNECTING WITH today?
3. What expectations of “normal” am I LETTING GO OF today?
4. How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?
5. How am I MOVING MY BODY today?
6. What beauty am I either CREATING, CULTIVATING OR LETTING IN today?
7. How am I TURNING TO GOD IN WORD AND PRAYER today?

These questions, when done daily, focus our energy in a different direction with a hopeful perspective, so that we may prepare ourselves to receive and reflect God’s gifts. They help us to cope and to notice the way God continues to lift our burdens.

In the book of James, we read that blessed are those who endure temptation, but that “God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself tempts no one” (1:13). The Good News this Easter season is that God is not stacking blocks on us to see how much we can handle, in fact He is offering to carry our weighted load for us.
Loving God, Help me recognize my many blessings
in abundance this Easter season. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com