Don’t Scratch That Itch

Gwen Smith Christian Living, Devotions, Temptation 17 Comments


I woke up that morning with a spider bite the size of a quarter. It may as well have been the size of North Carolina for as much as it itched! I was half-tempted to scrape my arm off because the nasty bite was just begging to be scratched, but I’ve learned a thing or two in my forty-plus years, and this one thing I know for sure: it’s best to NOT scratch this type of itch.

It’d be like opening a bag of chips with the naive intention of eating only one. Yeah, right!

I knew that if I started scratching my bug bite, it would be nearly impossible to stop. I would regret having ever started.

Super-itchy bug bites are a lot like temptations. Temptations are itchy! The call to us with urgent voices that scream, “Scratch me!  Scratch me!”  Yet, in all reality, a little scratch will not satisfy temptation’s itch at all… it will just make matters worse. When we scratch the itch of temptation, the itch doesn’t diminish. To the contrary, it increases.

The Bible teaches us that when we resist temptation, our faith is mobilized and our character is strengthened. Joseph is a great example of this. (For the full account, pause here and read Genesis 39.)

Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord. Even so, he faced some serious temptations. His boss’s wife, Mrs. Potiphar, seduced him. Yowsa! You see, Mrs. Potiphar wanted her husband’s right-hand man to sleep with her, and she pursued him with aggression. Her temptation was a hand-delivered invitation for Joseph to sin that had itchy written all over it.

But he flat-out refused. Joseph’s heart was determined to honor God.

“My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her (Genesis 39:9-10).

Temptation chased Joseph relentlessly. Day after day.

Oh, how he must have longed for the itching to stop! To give in would be sinful and was simply not an option. So on the day that Potiphar’s wife caught him by the cloak and begged again for Joseph to sleep with her, Joseph ran out of the house. He ran from that tempting situation as fast as his legs would carry him! (And he lost a lot because of his noble choice, clothes being just the beginning.)

The big takeaway? God was honored in Joseph’s response. He ran from temptation and we would be wise to do the same. What do you need to run from today? Have you determined in your heart to honor God in everything?

Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes.  It might be calling your name from your pantry – or from your computer – or in a sale ad – or from a bottle – or from another cubicle in your office.

What temptations do you face today? Name them and run the other way!

Don’t scratch that itch!

Determine in your heart that you will choose the path that brings honor to God, and call on Him for strength.

Dealing with temptation isn’t easy. When that nasty spider bit my arm, I struggled not to scratch the bite. I had to redirect my thinking to persevere through the temptation. When we come face to face with temptations, God’s strength is always available to us. (And let’s not be stubborn! We need God’s strength because our best efforts will fail us.)

So call on the Lord to help you resist temptation today. When you do, you position yourself in His peace and protection, your faith is mobilized, and your character is strengthened. Win. Win. Win.

Dear Lord,
I need You so much. I constantly find myself being dragged away and enticed by temptation. Please strengthen me to run the other way, and give me the wisdom to run to Your arms. I want to be a woman of godly character. Help me be that woman!
In Jesus’ Name,


I wish my temptations were always as simple as the itch of a pesky little bug bite!  But, of course, they aren’t.  Each of us will encounter some real whoppers in our lives. James chapter one tells us that when we persevere through trials and temptations, one rewards is maturity. That really encourages me!  I hope it encourages you as well.

REFLECT & RESPOND: If you had to sum up your biggest temptation in one word, what would it be? Tell me about it on the wall of my blog or my Facebook page, and let’s PRAY together as a community.

Thanks for doing life with me!

I’ve shared my thoughts on this, now please SHARE YOURS!

My blog is not meant to be a monologue, but a DIALOG.

Let’s be a community and talk about it in the comments section!



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Comments 17

  1. I am struggling in an area I have never before struggled ever. It is so overwhelming to me. It rattles me to the very core of my being. I have continued to fight the temptations. I’ve been praying, seeking God, asking him to please remove it. It really consumes my thoughts and I try and stop and redirect. I never knew an emotion could be so debilitating 🙁

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      Heather, temptation is so hard to fight sometimes, but I know you can do it! Sin tries to entice us, constantly whispering in our ear. But you can resist it. You can call Satan out for exactly what he is: a cowardly, spineless worm. It does seem like the harder we try not to think about something, the more we think about it. So keep working on redirecting your thoughts. Claim that power that God has given you to overcome. Quote scripture every time these tempting thoughts come to mind. You can do it through Christ’s power!

  2. My itch is my Granchildren! After living together as one big family in a not so big house for about 8 years, this past Jan. The owners of the house decided to sell. This meant a move and in our hearts we knew it needed to be into 2 homes one for my son his wife and three kiddos and one for my husband myself and our adult daughter. I’m not handling it very well at all. I’m miss them so much and you’re going think I’m crazy because I still see them every day except some saturdays and sundays. We pick them up from school and stay with them for a bit, usually all together about 2 hours. It’s just not the same! I’m not there at night when they need someone, I’m not there when things are being planned and I’m not there when I could comfort them. While this is the way God intended families to be, our family as so many others have gone through daddy coming and going and threats of divorce and physical harm to himself. It’s been more than 2 years since there has been a problem like this but it just seems I can’t ever see myself trusting him with the happiness and safety of my grandkids. I need, I want to feel like they are fine and where God wants them and then I hear or see something that brings it all back. I need to stop that “itch” that keeps me scratching that painful spot! I’m sorry to say my Faith isn’t that strong. Please pray with me. I don’t share all of this with family and friends because they are just to close.

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      Your situation is a tough one, but I know you can overcome that itch. Make sure your daughter-in-law knows that you’re always there for them all. Keep trusting God to take care of them.

  3. Hey Gwen-
    Great message today- thanks! I have a question that has always “bugged” (sorry- couldn’t resist) me. Why does the Lord’s pray ask God not to lead us into temptation when this passage clearly states He wouldn’t? I’ve never understood this. Thanks for any insight you might have.

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      Mia, you can look at this in two ways. Since God does allow us to go through troubles in our lives, and sometimes those troubles are brought on by our own sin, it’s like asking God not to allow us to even be tempted in the first place. We know that He is all powerful, so our request would be to stop us from even being tempted. But as we know, all sinners are tempted. The tempting isn’t the sin though. It’s in giving in to the temptation where we sin. Another way to look at this scripture is in the interpretation of the word temptation. It can also mean trials. So we can ask God to lead us away from or just in a totally different direction from trials. But again, as we know, sometimes life’s trials are what grow our faith and refine us. And we also live in an imperfect world, so trials and temptations are inevitable. But we can still pray for God to lead us only where he would have us to go. Hope this helps!

  4. I THANK GOD for this So funny!!! I was pulling into a parking spot and as I was pulling in a lady in a van just pushed her van door open pretty hard when it happen I think I may have had a look on my face (my daughter says my facial
    expressions are horrible :). So I got out she was standing there probably thinking (oh MY here comes crazy) We looked at the car her and I and I said ma’am my grandson have scraped and scratched and dented and anyway it is just a car SO I’m not going to worry about it and neither should you, she said OH God bless you I just said he already did and continues to.BUT on the way out of the store to the car a cart had hit the ladies van that hit our car so i looked and was going to get in the car and i said NOPE that lady will think that i hit her car and I got out the car and moved the cart and several others that were near her car HAHAHAHA!! THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT.:)

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  5. Great message! I have eczema and I break out sometimes on my fingers and I’ll ask my husband for a fork to scratch it because it itches sooo bad lol lol I’d want to rip my fingers off at times because when I itch I can’t stop. This is what it’s like when I give into the temptation of anger, self righteousness and judgment. None of these are pretty and I have a choice to sow seeds in the flesh (getting the fork out lol) or sow seeds in the Lord. It is a choice when we are in Christ which seed we are going to sow. Sometimes it happens so quick that I have to stop and pause (put the fork down lol and stop scratching) and repent of my thoughts and behaviors and ask God to direct my thoughts and actions to Him! The enemy knows my weakness so I had better know them too. He also knows the end of The Book but he keeps trying!
    Blessings to all of you! Don’t sow the seeds of the flesh sisters. Remember you have the Power in you that rose Jesus from the dead!!! Hallelujah ❤️

    1. Susan- I had a friend that had this same priblem. It turned out she had a terrible allergy to propyline glycol- the ingredient in most hand creams, moisturizers, and even eczema creams! She found out because one day some car antifreeze spilled on her (that is the biggest ingredient in that too) and her skin instantly turned red wherever it touched her! She then removed anything with that ingredient from her life- voila! No more eczema! Hope this helps! – Mia

  6. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have been struggling with a big temptation, very similar to Joseph’s, and this could not be more perfect of a message. I do believe that if I pray about it I can overcome it, and then be a more mature woman of God.

  7. I indicated that I would take the parking spot on my left, but a large SUV came from the opposite side and claimed the parking spot, although I indicated it first. She had a better position to just drive right into it. She ‘stole’ my parking spot too. When I saw her in her huge car, it was a very large woman. I was very very tempted to throw some not so christian remarks about her size (I’m a skinny woman with a little Suzuki) but what’s the point.

  8. This is the best thing I have heard in a long time. Exactly what I needed to hear. This will be wonderful to share with my family.
    THANK YOU. Hugs.

  9. This message was very timely for me. I’ve been struggling with letting go of a particular temptation for several weeks now and was close to breaking down. This message of DON’T scratch – it will only make it worse was certainly a message from God to me. Thank you for sharing!

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