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My kids and I enjoyed the best worship time together this morning. If they got half as much out of it as I did, I know they were well-fed spiritually. We’ve been reading our way through the classic series Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories written by Arthur Maxwell and first published in 1924 (www.uncle-arthurs.com). Today’s story, found in volume six, struck a particularly practical chord in my heart.

The story centers around a little girl named Bessie whose mother caught her telling a lie. Bessie’s friend Faith, with a maturity beyond her years, affirms the dangers of fibbing and then lays out for Bessie the simplest, most beautiful recipe for victorious Christian living that I have ever heard. You see, Bessie knows that fibbing is wrong. She doesn’t want to do it, but sometimes she “just can’t help it.”

I can relate to Bessie. Both of us are a lot like the “wretched man” of Romans 7. The good that he wills to do, he does not, while the evil he wills not to do, he does. At the end of the chapter, Paul says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25). Paul knows that Jesus can deliver him from this cycle of sin. But how?

Let’s bring this wretchedness even closer to home, to the church of Laodicea, which we believe to represent God’s church at the close of earth’s history—us. In Revelation 3, Jesus tells us that even though we think we are pretty well off spiritually we are, in fact, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. The condition needn’t be terminal; there is a solution. Jesus offers us gold, white garments and eye salve. All we have to do is let Him into our hearts and give Him full reign. But how?

Invite Jesus

Faith urges Bessie to simply invite Jesus into her heart when she says her prayers each night. That’s the first step. I can do that. And, what’s more, Jesus wants my invitation. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). I don’t know about Bessie, but I can assure you that I’ve asked Jesus into my heart many times, yet somehow I continue fibbing and a myriad of other wretched behaviors. Clearly, Jesus isn’t the only one knocking for admission into my heart. Satan wants in too, and being the sneaky salesman that he is, I have a hard time turning him down at the door.

Thankfully, our little friend Faith has the answer in step two. When Satan comes knocking on the door of her heart to tempt her, she does not answer. Instead, she runs straight to tell Jesus. And Jesus says, “Alright, dear, you leave him to Me.” Then, at the sight of Jesus, Satan goes running and takes the temptation with him.

I’m so glad that Bessie and I don’t have to deal with Satan anymore. We can’t handle his temptations, but Jesus can. All we have to do is remember to take them to Him first.

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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