My stomach let out another loud, embarrassing growl.

"How did Jesus do this for 40 days?" I wondered to myself. I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours, and the pains of hunger due to fasting were starting to set in. Some were more audible than others.

In the midst of my discomfort, I allowed myself to daydream. Corndogs smothered in ketchup danced in my head, next to slices of cheese pizza, ice cream cones and hot trays of chocolate chip cookies and blueberry pie. With every stomach pain came the vision of a delicious dessert, or temptation chocolate, waiting for me to devour on the other side of my upcoming colonoscopy.

It took all my strength to resist the urge to break my clear liquids fast.


To resist the temptation to eat, I stopped thinking about food. And later that night, I gave my family permission to slap my hand if they saw me going after a snack. It was hard - really hard. I was hungry. But, their accountability helped.

Plus, I kept the big goal in mind. If I gave into temptation, I'd ruin the chances of getting my procedure done - and I didn't want to prep for a colonoscopy again. Keeping this in mind helped make the temptation go away and subside during the night.

Fortunately, I made it to the next day without eating, I overcame the temptation to cheat.


Unmet needs 

If colonoscopy prep night has taught me anything (and I experience this a lot - every year!), it's that when we have unmet needs, temptation knocks the loudest. Sometimes we're aware of it (no sleep makes me cranky, no food makes me want to eat more). But other times, we aren't so aware of what we're going through. 

We can be lonely and disconnected from others. Financially broke. Feeling unsafe, unloved and insecure. Our faith can be on crutches as we struggle with trusting and believing in a higher power: How can God be good?

In these secret places of our hearts where our desires are quiet and our needs aren't met, temptation does a dance. Often, a compromise that seems reasonable comes our way. Luckily, this isn't a surprise to God and He's given us ways to handle it.

God's help

Just like God cared for Jesus in the desert by arming Him with Scripture and sending angels and animals to keep him company, God promises to meet our deep places of need so we don't have to succum to temptation. 

Sometimes, He brings a Scripture to help us override our thoughts. Sometimes, He prompts a friend to call, write or bless us with encouragement or gifts. He may use a stranger's smile, an alarm that doesn't go off (giving us more sleep), or an overwhelming feeling of joy for no reason at all.

The many ways God meets our needs and helps us resist temptation is a mystery, but if we'll ask Him for help, He will answer. He will help us resist.

Prayer: God, help show me any unmet needs I have that may be leading me to temptation. Help me resist, with your strength and power. In Jesus' name. Amen.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 (NIV)

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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