Sunday, February 26, 2023


 People who’ve been doing one thing for a long time make it look easy. Seeing as repetition is the mother of skill, whether it’s carving a piece of wood or blowing a blob of molten glass into something beautiful that most people would call art, some men make it seem effortless.

My dad was a glass blower. It’s a learned skill that allows you to improve over time, given enough practice and dedication. Some of the things he could create with nothing more than a blowpipe and some molten glass are nothing short of breathtaking. No, he couldn’t do it the first day or the first year, but a few years in, his skill level was such that whatever he decided to create would be noteworthy.

Granted, when it comes to certain skills like playing an instrument or solving equations, some are naturally gifted and can attain mastery in short order. Still, the going theory is that it takes an individual 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills.

Some have balked at this idea, and some swear by it, but wherever you land, you still need to dedicate a year and change of your life to intensively practicing whatever you’ve elected to master. I’ve been trying to find the time to master the ukulele or the kazoo, but I don’t think I’m passionate enough about them to dedicate a year of my life to the pursuit.

Sure, it would be impressive and something I can hint at in casual conversation, but spear-hunting squirrels will likely have a better return on my investment of time than the ukulele or the kazoo—just a feeling.

Whether you think you can achieve mastery by doing something for 10,000 hours or not, remember that the devil has been doing the same thing for six thousand years. His only mission, purpose, passion, and focus have been to destroy, devour, and derail the children of God in their pursuit of Him. Whichever way you slice it, six thousand years is more than enough time to get really good at something, whatever that something might be.

When we consider that human nature, instinct, and inclination have not changed during all this time, you could rightly conclude that the devil has achieved mastery when it comes to temptation, whether subtle or otherwise. He knows which buttons to push because he’s been pushing the same buttons for six thousand years.

The devil is not an enemy we can underestimate. He’s racked up enough of a body count that you should be weary and aware of his schemes and machinations. When you take into account that this present generation is both spiritually malnourished and overconfident simultaneously, a recipe for disaster is plain for all to see.

My wife does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She has been for some time and has worked herself up to a blue belt. She enjoys it, and it allows her to get some exercise. With each new belt she gets, I always remind her that the belt doesn’t make her bulletproof, and if ever a situation arose where violence was implied, if at all possible, walk away.

Even though we are warned repeatedly about the dangers of allowing temptation to take root in our hearts, even though the Bible warns us that our enemy is persistent and single-minded, we still flirt with sin as though it were not fatal. We still entertain thoughts we shouldn’t and go down roads that lead to destruction because we think ourselves strong enough to pull out of the nosedive.

Why would I put myself in a situation where I had a fifty-fifty shot at walking away unscathed when simply avoiding it would bump my chances to 100%? Sin is the only thing we’re willing to play those odds with. If I handed you a glass of water and told you there was a 50% chance it was poisoned, and you would die, would you drink it? Of course not! Yet, with sin, many professing Christians take those odds regularly, and many don’t live to tell the tale.

Because most would rather hear about how God is ready to prosper them than rightly divide the Word of truth, there are misconceptions floating about regarding temptation, and specifically its origins, that are simply not true.

The most popular, and one I hear more often than I’d like, is that God is tempting an individual. Sorry, Maury, God doesn’t tempt His children.

James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

Notice it doesn’t say you won’t be tempted or that it is probable. It’s not an if but a when. When you are tempted, James instructs us, don’t say it was God that did it because God can neither be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone with it. It’s your two biggest enemies, the ones that have made a pact to see you hounded by temptation, the devil, and your flesh.

Although your flesh is amateurish when it comes to temptation, the devil isn’t, but they can both be repelled and rebuffed if you are willing to use the weapons afforded you by God’s promise to overcome. You can’t have victory without a battle, and you can’t be an overcomer without having had something to overcome. Heroes are those others tell stories about, not those who tell stories about themselves, and anyone who’s been to war will tell you that underestimating your enemy never led to victory.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

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