Why is temptation so hard to resist? A 3-year-old had been given a Tootsie Roll Pop by a clerk at the bank. As the little girl walked home with her mother, she asked if she could eat the candy right away, but her mother said no. It was too close to dinner.

A short time later, the mother looked down and noticed her daughter was holding the candy up to her nose. “Put that back in your pocket, Janet. I told you not to eat it until after dinner.”

Janet said, “But Mom, I wasn’t going to eat it. I was just smelling it.”

The mother and daughter continued walking for a few more minutes. Then the mother found Janet with the candy out of the wrapper and in her fingers. Sternly, she said, “Janet, you had better put that candy back in the wrapper right now.”

“But Mom, I wasn’t going to eat it. I was just feeling it.”

A few moments passed. This time, the mother caught her daughter with the candy in her mouth. “Janet! What did I just tell you? Take that candy out of your mouth right this minute!”

“But Mom, I wasn’t going to eat it. I was just holding the juice in.”

We may laugh at this story, but only because it relates so well to us. We follow the same progression with temptation. First, we look at it. Then we desire it. Finally, we take it. And we wonder why we keep falling into sin. The key to resisting temptation is to stay away from its source. We need to either keep the candy in our pocket, or get rid of it altogether.

“But I wasn’t going to eat it.” Have you ever said this about a temptation in your life? What were the steps which led you to commit the sin? How can you avoid making the same mistake again? Think about the sins you struggle with, and plan ahead how you will respond when tempted. This will keep you from eating what you weren’t going to eat in the first place.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder