For my son’s birthday, my wife and I got him a VeggieTales movie, Larry Boy and the Bad Apple. This was a must for me because the lesson of the movie is battling temptation. Larry Boy’s temptation is chocolate, and the Bad Apple traps him in a chocolate factory, and Larry Boy can only get out with the help of his butler, Alfred. There are two revelations about temptation in this movie: the first is, you can’t battle temptation alone. Each character realizes this and learns that they need God’s help and the help of their friends and family. I told my son after the movie that any time he feels tempted or something is tempting him that he can tell us and we will help him with it.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’” (Matthew 18:20)
Struggling with temptation is not something we should hide or be ashamed of—that’s exactly what the Enemy wants. Everyone struggles with temptation; you are not alone in your struggle. On our own, we are not strong enough to overcome temptation, and shame is a powerful tool the Enemy will use to keep you trapped in a cycle of sin. If you’ve been going it alone without an accountability group or if you’ve been living with unconfessed sins or secrets, know that we are not meant to go it alone. We are made for community and the community of believers should be filled with understanding and forgiveness.
As Larry Boy is coming to his senses, he makes the second revelation about temptation with this profound statement: “I can’t be the hero God wants me to be if all I think about is chocolate.” This revelation is repeated by other characters in the movie as they realize they can’t be what God wants them to be if all they think about is their temptation. What does that statement look like for you?
“I can’t be the _______________ God wants me to be if all I think about is _________________.”
Oftentimes, people reassess and set goals going into a New Year, so let me suggest this statement as a starting point for assessment. What temptations are you struggling with? What is keeping you from being what God wants you to be? What is keeping you from experiencing complete freedom in Christ? Living with the chains of temptation, the shackles of unconfessed secrets, is not living in freedom through Christ. We can’t be the people God wants us to be if we live in slavery to sin.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1)
"‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,’” (Luke 4:18)
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:8-10)
Live free in Christ through confession and repentance. Get rid of whatever it is that is holding you back from being all God wants you to be. Make this next year the year you truly live free in Christ—no more chains, no more guilt, no more shame.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.