Right there next to the highway, I spotted ‘the’ truck. “Ah, why not?” I told myself, “Just take a look.” Up close it was even more attractive, a nice Ford F150 with all the right kinds of options. I felt the tug of temptation, but I walked away. But, spending those few moments looking at that truck planted a seed and, for the last two weeks, images of that pickup truck occasionally slip into my conscious mind, especially when sadness comes. I am old and wise enough to know that my present grief makes me vulnerable to that kind of temptation.
Temptation’s whisper is seductive, isn’t it? Money, power, sex, food, drink, ease … or Ford trucks … temptation finds the point of our weakness and pushes in. Everybody experiences it. The Bible says that temptation will come and that we should not think of ourselves as going through some unique experience when it does. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience,” the Word says. Then we are told that we can overcome -“and God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT)
Sheer determination is not going to win the battle for us! Jesus met the devil in the wilderness after a long fast. He was weak in body, hungry, and exhausted. He met each offer with the truth of the Scripture. He did not rant at the devil, nor did he whine about his situation. He boldly said, “It is written…” and after seeing that He was full in a way that allowed no success, we read that “the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” (Matthew 4:11, NLT) We meet temptation, regardless if it comes from the culture that surrounds us, the appetites of our body, or the devil himself, by being filled with the Word. We can master the temptations that come our way. We are not on our own. God is with us and He has made a way.
How can we subdue the seductive voices?
We learn the Truth and choose to live in the Light!
Basic to overcoming is to know the truth. Temptations lose much of their luster when we take them out of the dark of our imagination and hold them up to the Light. What seems so good in our mind is not nearly so wonderful when we talk about it and the consequences that will follow if we go ahead and follow our impulse.
We live in fellowship – with God and others!
Temptation gains strength when we hide it behind our pride. “What will they think of me if I admit to such feelings?” we think. However, there is real freedom in confession. Alcoholics Anonymous gives people who are struggling with sobriety a safe place to tell their story and to accept the support of a sponsor! Let someone who is filled with the Spirit of God, who is wise and gentle, become your confessor. Amazing power is released into our lives for good when we agree with another about the way and will of God and together invite the Spirit to bring about change.
And, do not forget that God is Your advocate, too. Bring Him your struggle. “Since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15, NLT)
We learn that temptation is not sin!
The impulse to do wrong is different from the choice to do wrong. “I’m a terrible person, morally defective that I could even think such a thought,” is exactly what the Tempter wants you to think. False guilt is actually counterproductive to righteous living. There is no moral failure in experiencing a desire. It is when we take hold of the temptation and begin to love it that sin enters the picture. James says “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15, NIV)
Here is a word from the Word to fill your mind today. Revel in the wonderful promise found here.
“Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:24-25; 8:1, NLT)
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9-11, NIV)
Jesus what a Friend for sinners
Jesus Lover of my soul
Friends may fail me foes assail me
He my Savior makes me whole
Jesus what a Strength in weakness
Let me hide myself in Him
Tempted tried and sometimes failing
He my Strength my vict’ry wins
Jesus I do now receive Him
More than all in Him I find
He hath granted me forgiveness
I am His and He is mine
Hallelujah what a Savior
Hallelujah what a Friend
Saving helping keeping loving
He is with me to the end
Our Great Savior
John Wilbur Chapman | Rowland Hugh Prichard © Words: Public Domain