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Lure of Temptation: A Question of Trust

The United States spends about $310 billion a year on tort litigation. In fact, we outspend all of our global neighbors in our quest to defend our rights and demand compensation when those rights are ignored or abused.

The belief that we deserve something from others—or from God—can put us in a precarious spiritual predicament. Satan seeks to animate our sense of entitlement and destroy our trust. In the Garden, he positioned his argument so that Eve would transfer the locus of goodness from God to one of His gifts. As she began to suspect that God wasn’t good, she noticed the fruit was. How could God withhold something that she was meant to have?

Satan’s strategy is to find this vulnerability: often, our temptations take root in an area of need, even in an area of divine promise. We can clearly see how tempting it must have been for Abram in today’s story to choose rights over relinquishment, entitlement over trust.

When God called Abram to leave his country and his father’s house, He promised Abram the reward of the land (12:7). Yet when Abram, Sarai, and their household made the journey from Ur to Haran, finally arriving in Canaan, they encountered famine. In order to survive, they were forced to flee to Egypt.

In chapter 13, they had finally made their way back to Canaan but faced a new problem. Their flocks and herds were too great for the land to sustain both Abram and Lot. Abram didn’t do what we may have been tempted to do in his place. He didn’t demand his rights. Instead, he ceded first choice to Lot. And he was duly rewarded: “Look around from where you are” God says—and see the future blessings I have in store for you (vv. 14–16).

Apply the Word

If we can remember that God is good and that He never withholds good from us, we can have the power to resist demanding our rights. Even when we are unjustly accused, we demonstrate obedient trust when we look to God to defend our case (Rom. 12:14–21; 1 Peter 3–4). Patiently waiting on God is not passivity: it is active trust.

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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