Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” I can resonate with that. The devil knows exactly where I’m weak and vulnerable and I’m a sucker for his lies. It’s no wonder that the hymn writer Robert Robinson wrote hundreds of years ago, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love."
I’m prone to walk away from the God I love everyday. I turn my back as I run to my idols that I’ve built for myself and wander around in the dessert trying to find joy and value and life in my own accomplishments and self-importance.
And it doesn’t matter how I hard I try. Because despite my fight, and even my occasional success in resisting temptation, one of the devil’s attacks will leave me nothing more than a loser without anything left for the fight.
Is that not the reality of life? No matter how hard we might try, we fail to win the fight against our temptation. Time after time after time we are defeated by the same temptations, the same tricks, and the same lies. And in the rare occasions that we are successful, there’s another temptation behind that’s more subversive and dangerous.
For many of us, the Christian life is all about our success in defeating seen. The Christian life is all about our pursuit of being a better person and getting better at keeping the rules. And while living according to the way that God deems best is good, if our measurement of the Christian life is our obedience to rules, we are a bunch of losers.
My hope isn’t found in my own ability to fight stronger, fight smarter, and fight harder. Instead my hope is in the reality that Jesus fights for me. He wins the fight. He is the victory.
Jesus doesn't come for those of us who are winning the fight against temptation. He doesn't come for the people who’ve gotten their act together. He comes for the losers. He comes for the repeat customers of grace who are repeatedly on their knees begging for forgiveness. Jesus said, “I didn’t come for the healthy, I came for the sick.”