That apple pie was right around the corner in the kitchen. I resisted for a half-hour, my thoughts turning again to the possibility of enjoyment that could be mine with minimal effort. In the end temptation won. That was just pie and a few hundred calories. What about the yearning, the temptation that has a much more serious consequence?
Hearing of person who falls flat on his face, some Christians shake their heads in disgust – “How could he do that?” Others are quick to declare, “I’d never do that. I’m above being tempted in that way.” Here’s the truth as God sees it – like it or not: “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, CEV) The nature of what tempts me will be different from what tempts you, but Satan baits the hook for us all. Old, young, smart or not, pastor, teacher, police, or plumber – we all come to that fork in life’s road where there are just two choices: our will or God’s will.
For one it may be laziness: “Let it go ’til tomorrow. Why sweat?” For another it may be the allure of sex: an escape from life’s drudgery. For another it is the alcohol that takes the edge off of life, that makes it hurt less for a while. Pride may pull another to pretend to be what he is not. Many fall prey to the lure of stuff – more shiny toys, clothes, a new car. Yes, we’re all tempted! “But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, CEV) However, victory requires our cooperation with the Spirit.
How do we resist temptation?
Evil circles, the Bible says, like a lion on the prowl, looking to have us for dinner. And, contrary to accepted wisdom, evil and the father of it do not always attack at our perceived weakness. We generally have our defenses in place there. So, he may surprise us at the point of our strength. Peter reminds us that when we’re going through the trials of temptation we are sharing the same experience that Christ endured and he says, “do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12, NIV)
You can’t outwit temptation. If you want something badly and spend long enough thinking about getting it, you will find an excuse or a justification. That is why the Bible says, “O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, NKJV) “But, Jerry, doesn’t the Bible tell us to ‘resist the Devil‘” That does not mean we stand as close to the fire of temptation as we think we can without getting burnt! We resist him when we humbly surrender to God and anchor ourselves in faith.
Take care of your REAL needs!
We need love, security, food, intimacy, and significance. He has provided a way for each of those needs to be met in a way that makes us whole, and when we do, we are much less vulnerable to temptation. That apple pie I mentioned a moment ago is not that desirable when my hunger has been satisfied with a solid meal. Fatigue is relieved by rest. Love cannot be found in an illicit affair. When we do things God’s way, it may appear hard, but in the long term, His way is THE way that we find all our needs met.
Live openly before Christ!
We can endure “by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:2-3, NLT) Temptation makes us feel like we are being torn in two, emotionally and spiritually. The battle rages on as in – I just “gotta have it!” whatever the ‘it’ is at that moment. Don’t hide out. Don’t try to muscle it out. Go and tell the Lord about the battle. Ask for the the reinforcement of the Spirit!
When we humble ourselves, quietly waiting before Him, His peace will come. Why? Because Jesus is our Priest and Intercessor before God.
Remember, Christian, there is no shame in admitting to the temptation, for temptation is not sin! While we live in this world, temptations will come at us. Some come from the world systems in which we work and live. Some come from what the Bible calls, ‘the flesh,’ or the sinful nature, the desires and needs of our physical body that crave satisfaction in destructive ways. And, some are diabolical, devilish schemes that come from the enemy of God and good.
Here’s a word from the Word. Draw the strength of the promise from it today and meet temptation with the Truth that in Christ, you can overcome! “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared.
You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message)
In The Light
I keep trying to find a life
On my own apart from You,
I am the king of excuses,
I’ve got one
For every selfish thing I do.
What’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior.
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior.
I wanna be in the light as You are in the light.
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens.
Lord be my light and be my salvation.
All I want is to be in the light of love.
All I want is to be in the light.
Is there such a thing as a man of peace?
If there is then a man of peace I want to be.
I will need Your help if I am ever to be that,
If I’m to lay down, lay down, lay down,
Then, I’ll lay my life for my brothers and sisters,
I will need Your help,
Jesus, I need Your light forever shining bright.
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