Short story

FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS: A SHORT STORY

Bunmi slid her hand down to my chest but just before it reached my thigh, I grabbed her hand and pushed it away.

She hissed and cat-walked to her seat. It took several seconds to stop the effect that touch had on me. My body shook with physical desire.

Bunmi was an attractive young woman and one of the smartest women I’ve ever met. With a skin that glowed and contours firm enough to send a man’s head reeling, it was hard not to fall for her.

Before I met Christ, I’d have gladly given in to Bunmi’s demands. But not now. Not when I was enjoying my relationship with Christ. Not when God had finally brought Ronke, who’d shortly become my partner in this journey of life. Bunmi was my boss, yes. She has exposed me to more opportunities and workshops than other places I’ve worked, but I wanted so badly to please God.

But why had she chosen me when there were lots of my colleagues who’d jump at her offer?

‘I’ll go and work on the financial statement ma’am.’ I took the folder from her table and left her office.

When I got to my office, I slumped into my chair and let out a deep breath. Where did I get the strength to say No. This had to be God. I bowed my head and prayed silently.

Lord, I need more of your strength. I cannot do this on my own. Help me Lord.’

That was two weeks ago. I just got to the office early one morning when Bunmi called me to her office. When I entered, she was leaning on the edge of her table dressed in a mini-gown that revealed her laps. I stood at the entrance and stared at her bare feet. Should I run? Will I be able to control myself if I stay?

‘Lock the door.’

‘You said what?’

She rolled her eyes and smiled. ‘I said, lock the door.’

I did. When she started to walk towards me, I grabbed the handle. She burst into laughter.

‘Why are you acting like a child? You are one of the best employees. It’s so weird to see you whimpering.’

‘Ehmm…I still have the data base backup to work on. Can I please quickly go and finish up with it?’

Bunmi chuckled. Standing in front of me, she wrapped her hand around my neck. ‘Listen, I like you a lot. I’m married to a very boring man who does not satisfy me sexually.’

I swallowed hard as she touched my face. ‘Please John, I need you. I’m very attracted to you and I want to feel you against my skin. We can book a hotel room somewhere far away from town. I’ll settle the bill.’

I kept my gaze above her head. My brain was messing with my emotions. Why was I still standing here? Shouldn’t I just push her away and run? What about a kiss. Just one kiss. No sex. Just a kiss. Would that really hurt?

Oh Jesus, what am I doing here?

The verses I read that morning flashed across my mind.

Don’t let your heart stray away towards her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many…and her bedroom is the den of death.

She touched my chin. ‘Baby, I want you so badly.’  When she tip-toed to plant a kiss on my lips, I pushed her away.

‘Bunmi, I’m sorry I can’t. I’m a Christian.’

The smile disappeared. She lost her temper. ‘Get out of my office!’

In the weeks that followed, Bunmi wore her professional look whenever I had to report to her office and I was cool with it. I submitted my reports on time and ensured that she had no reason to find loopholes in my work.

Just when I was thanking God for helping me stand against my boss’ advances, I was faced with yet another struggle.

After a prayer vigil with my best friend who was a member of Berean Mission Outreach, he began to talk about an outreach to a village in Niger state.

‘John, join us for this outreach. It’s just for a week.’ Chuks said.

‘I wish I could. But I have a job.’

Much later, I began to nurture thoughts of God asking me to join the mission outreach. I laughed.

How can someone just put aside 300k monthly salary for a life of uncertainty. Apart from the fact that I was the head of the account department, I loved my job. What about the professional certifications I’d bagged?

God cannot call me to be a missionary, I concluded. I loved my friend and his passion for souls, but that’s not the path God desires me to take. I’ll win souls another way. There was no way God would have led me to get my ACCA certification and a master’s degree in corporate finance and then decide one day that I let it all go.

I didn’t realize I’d been pacing around my room, speaking my thoughts aloud. Why was I struggling with these thoughts? Why this sudden battle between becoming a missionary and keeping my job. What was this new burden sitting on my heart?

God, No. You can’t be calling me to the mission field. I love my job. I can’t leave it.

When the struggle wouldn’t let out, I decided to call Ronke and share my struggles with her.

‘Hi dear.’ She said.

Ronke, I’m confused. Chuks was here on Friday night for our usual prayer vigil. He started talking about a mission outreach to Niger state and suddenly my heart was drawn there. At first I thought God just wanted me to pray for the success of the outreach but I’ve been perceiving something else. Something like God wanting me to leave my job and join Berean outreach. It can’t be God.’

‘Why not? John, God can do whatever he wants with us. We were recreated to please Him, remember?’

‘That’s not part of the bargain Ronke. Why did I get all those certifications if I had to dump them. I love what I do. I love finance. I love accounting.’

She hesitated. ‘Okay. Let’s spend this week praying more about this. We are led by the Spirit and God will make things clear to us. Relax okay?’

John sighed. ‘I can’t leave my job Ronke. How do I pay my bills? How do we survive after we get married?’

‘We trust God, honey. If he is asking you to do this, he’ll take care of us. The most important thing is that we remain at the center of his will.’

God, I bless the day you sent Ronke to my life.

The following day, as I stood by the dispenser stirring my cup of coffee, Bunmi’s P.A approached me.

‘BM wants to see you.’

I left the cup beside a club sandwich and followed the P.A out of the lunch room. Bunmi didn’t even look at me as I approached her table.

‘Pick up your letter from the HR.’ She said, her face glued to the screen of her laptop.

A letter? I stood there, waiting for more explanation.

‘Mr John, is there something you want to talk about?’

‘No.’ I said and left her office.

Wale, a bosom friend and the head of HR was talking with one of the new employees when I entered his office. He stopped talking when he saw me and picked a folded piece of paper from his table before leading me out of the office to the lunch room.

‘BM asked me to give this to you.’ I snatched the note from him and opened it. ‘Did you offend her? I’m wondering why she would do something like this.’

I had been transferred to the marketing department. I stared at my friend. ‘This is not possible. Why will she take me to marketing?’

‘I’m surprised too.’

I was angry. My blood pumped fast through my veins. ‘Who is heading the account department now?’

‘Gabriel.’

I stared at him. ‘What!’

‘I’m telling you. Since the former BM left, this place has not been the same.’

I stormed into the BM’s office before the secretary could stop me. Gabriel was kissing my boss. He quickly pulled away. Bunmi jumped to her feet.

‘Are you insane? How dare you barge into my office like that. What nonsense is this?’

I tried so hard to stay calm. ‘Can I speak to you alone?’

‘For what? You need to leave.’

‘Please.’

Gabriel grinned and quietly left the office. The BM sat back and rolled her eyes at me.

‘What do you want?’

I pushed the letter towards her. ‘Why will you take me to the marketing department? Is it because I refused your demands?’

She stood up, enraged. ‘What the hell are you talking about? You are not efficient in the accounts department that’s why we removed you.’

I clenched my fist. ‘That’s not true and you know that!’

‘Are you calling me a liar? Leave my office now!’

Harlot was the word that sat on my lips. But I knew the moment that word comes out, I’d regret it.

Bunmi complained about everything I did. I was a fool to lose two new clients because I refused to sign some forged documents. I didn’t meet up with my target. I was block-headed. At every board meeting, she lashed out at me, calling me irresponsible and lazy. I returned home every day, sad and frustrated.

Few weeks later, I walked into the HR’s office and dropped my resignation letter. I just knew it was time to go.

‘You can’t let that woman ruin your career. You are stronger than this.’ Wale followed me out of the building, trying to convince me not to leave.

‘I’m not doing this because of her. Wale, I’m not enjoying my work anymore.’  I said, when I got to where my car was parked.

Back home, I sat in the living room and stared blankly at the TV. So many thoughts ran through my mind. How will I survive? Didn’t I just read in the news that unemployment rate had risen by 30 percent? I was planning to settle down soon, how do I take care of my new family?

I knew I had to look for another job fast. I took out my CV and spend the day polishing it and searching for job opportunities on different job sites. I was editing a cover letter when Ronke and Chuks showed up at my door.

‘I got us chicken and chips.’ Ronke announced. Chuks took the TV remote and began to scroll down different channels.

Ronke faced my friend. ‘Chuks, abeg. No football today o. Let’s watch something else.’

‘Did you get my text message?’ I said to my fiancée.

Ronke shook her head. ‘My phone’s been down since morning. What happened?’

‘I resigned.’

They stared at me, speechless.

‘I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before I took that decision.’

Ronke smiled. ‘Finally, you got out of the claws of that woman.’

Chuks slapped me playfully on my back. ‘You’ll be fine.’

‘I’m on the look out for another job. I know with my wealth of experience, it shouldn’t take long before landing another one.’

‘There is a training for a mission outreach to Ologiri village this weekend.’ Chuks said.

I shook my head. ‘I’m not a missionary.’

Ronke handed me a plate of chicken and chips. We ate in silence.

‘The outreach is just for two weeks John. Just come and see what mission field is like.’

‘I’ll think about it.’

Those two weeks in Ologiri seemed like two days to me. The crusades, the house-to-house evangelism, the distribution of items, the prayer nights. It’d been months since I had such a satisfying experience.

‘I think I know exactly where God wants me to be.’ I said to Ronke, a week after I returned from Ologiri.  We were driving to my parent’s house to see my elder brother who had just returned from Kenya.

‘I’m listening.’ she said.

‘Yesterday, while  I was praying, I felt a nudge in my heart to speak with the director of Berean Missions Outreach. I don’t know exactly what God wants me to do there. All he is asking me to do is take the first step by showing up in his office. I’m still confused Ronke. I love paper work. I’m not sure I want to jump from one mission field to the other.’

Ronke leaned forward. ‘We trust God right?’

‘Yes.’ I sighed and returned my attention to the road.

My phone rang as I pulled up in front of the Mission’s Office.

‘Hey guy, we miss you around here.’

‘How’s work?’ I asked, turning off the ignition.

‘The HOP called from the headquarters. He wanted to speak to you and was shocked when he heard you resigned.’

Why would the head of Operations want to talk to me. ‘Do you have an idea what he wants?’

‘I didn’t get the full gist but reliable sources tell me they want you transferred to the headquarters as the Chief auditing officer. That’s bigger pay mehn.’

‘John, are you there?’

‘Wale, please can I call you back?’

I relaxed on the car’s head rest.

This is tempting, Lord. I’ve had my eyes on the headquarters for years. The HOP is the CEO’s brother. That’s strong connection. 

Silence.

I dialed Wale’s number. ‘ I’m not coming back. I’m resuming somewhere else today.’

What exactly was I saying? Am I normal at all? The Director has not offered me a job yet and here I was, turning down a juicy offer. 

‘What! So fast. Did you know about this job before you resigned?’

‘No.’

‘I hope you change your mind. Not everybody gets the opportunity to work for Akintade Thompson. I gave the HCF your number. The guy wants you back on board. I’m sure he’ll put a call through to you soon.’

When I ended the call, I bowed my head, momentarily confused. I knew what to do, but something else was tugging at my heart. I muttered a word of prayer and climbed down from my car.

The staff of the Berean Mission Outreach were excited to see me again. We had met during the weekend training session I attended before the outreach to Ologiri.

Chuks led me into the Director’s office. I explained that I’d just lost my job and I’d come based on an instruction from the Holy Spirit but I really didn’t know what exactly he wanted me to do.

‘Do you have your CV here?’ The director asked.

I almost responded in the negative but then remembered I had kept some copies in my bag. I pulled a copy out and gave it to him.

His eyes lit up as he glanced through my curriculum vitae. ‘This is loaded. You worked with Akintade Thompson? My elder brother was there for a while before relocating to the United States. We can’t pay you half as much as what you received there.’

‘I knew that before I came here sir. I believe God wants me here.’ How was I able to say that with so much confidence.

The Director leaned forward. ‘Our accountant who doubled as our admin officer had been stealing our donations for some years and we didn’t detect it until last month. Our account is a mess. So many things are not right here. It’s enormous work.’

Could the mission’s account be as bad as one of the corporations I’d worked for as an external auditor whose account was almost irreparable. Within six months, I had pulled out the errors from company’s financial statements and exposed the fraud that almost drove the company to the ground. I remember when I presented my findings to the M. D, he stared at me, shocked.

I smiled at the Director. ‘I believe I can put the account back in order.’

The Director was up on his feet. He shook my hand. ‘God bless you. I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much. When do you want to start?’

‘What about we begin now?’ I said.

He eyes widened. ‘This is just great!’

After introducing me to the other staff members as the new accountant, he led me to my office. There was a wooden table beside a dusty window and a rusted standing fan stood at a corner of the room. On the table was an old desktop and some old dusty books. This was a far cry from my space back at Akintade Thompson. A lady ran into the office with a duster and bowl of water and a man followed her with a broom.

Why would someone steal funds meant for the gospel? I gasped when I discovered that almost every expenditure was unaccounted for. I sat there for hours, developing accounting procedures and book keeping system.

I wished I’d brought my laptop. How much could I do with Windows 98? I missed Xero. That software worked magic.

Chuks came into my office with a plate of rice. The aroma made my stomach rumble. ‘Trust me, Iya Kola’s food tastes better than the meals you eat at that your regular eatery. What’s the name again. Chicken Nation.’

I yawned and stood up to stretch my legs. When I checked the time, I was shocked to see that it was already 3p.m

‘Guess who is here to see you?’

I turn swiftly towards the entrance and right there was Ronke standing in her sparkling white nurse uniform.

‘I was on my way to the hospital and thought to stop by and see how your first day at work is going. How do you feel?’

The joy that filled my heart was beyond measure. ‘Peaceful.’

Famished, I began to eat. Chuks picked one of the pieces of meat from the plate of rice and threw it into his mouth.

‘The director was just telling me that after the former accountant was laid off, he’s been praying to God to send a man to replace him. This morning, as he dressed up, his wife told him God was sending someone to the office. He thought she was just speaking by faith but the moment you entered, the Holy Spirit whispered to him, ‘this is the man.’

‘Wow!’ I muttered, staring at my best friend. For one moment, the pomo sat in my mouth. I suddenly felt closer to the Holy Spirit.

I chewed the pomo slowly, smiling as I looked from my beautiful fiancée to my best friend.

***

In life’s path, we are faced with two major decisions. Follow God’s will or walk the path of our fleshly desires.

The flesh and the Spirit will always be contrary to one other. But those who walk in the Spirit will not fulfil the desires of the flesh.

We walk in the Spirit by aggressively spending time in the Word and in prayers.

We build our spirit man against the wiles of the devil by confessing who we are in Christ. As we receive the word, we speak it out

We receive light into God’s plan and purpose by practicing obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Our eyes are opened to a bigger picture of God’s will for our lives when we pratice the will of God already revealed clearly in the scriptures- God’s will on sexual purity, on honesty etc.

Whether it is in our stand against sexual temptation, staying true to biblical principles or yielding to God’s instruction, we are assured that when we surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow let him lead us, we can live a life pleasing unto God.

To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

May we always remain in the center of His will at every phase of our lives.

Related: Developing intimacy with Jesus

A lesson on how God speaks to us

Lord, can I really do this?

Where is your sword?

9 thoughts on “FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS: A SHORT STORY”

  1. ” we walking in the spirit by aggressively spending time with the word and in prayers”, the word AGGRESSIVELY got me, thanks for sharing dear

  2. Hmmmmm. God help me to remain at the centre of your will whether convenient or not. Thanks for this wonderful piece

  3. My heart is lifted , we are recreated to please God. God help me to find it so difficult to step out of your will

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