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Temptation?


Tempation

 

  • The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. – Oscar Wilde
  • Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty. – Earl Wilson
  • Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall. – William Shakespear
  • Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart. – William Shakespear

 

 

Matthew 4:1 starts in a creepy kind of way for me.  It says that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  The Spirit of His Father was leading Him into temptation.  Here’s the next part of this interesting timeline.  After overcoming  the temptations directly hurled on him via the Devil, Jesus goes and begins preaching repentance.  But after picking up a few of his first committed disciples (learners), He presents His first recorded sermon.  We reference this one as ‘The Sermon on the Mount.”  In verse 13 of chapter 6, still the same sermon, he asks us to ask God to “lead us not into temptation.”    Weird, He was just in this position.  I think Jesus knows something about being tempted…and he doesn’t want weak hearted humans in the spot He was…unfortunately that’s where we are each and every day we’re alive.  We’re not perfect.  Ahhh, but this is what it’s all about!  This is His whole reason for being.  We are going to be around temptation.  We are going to fail.  We will need forgiveness.

 

One thing to make sure of.  God does not tempt us.  He is not capable of doing that.  He is perfect.  He can, however, keep evil at bay…that’s the second part of Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew…”deliver us from evil.”  The Greek word here is more about rescuing us from evil.  Wow…Jesus asked us to pray this fully knowing that He would be the rescuer.

 

Temptation stinks.  It lurks.  1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  That’s temptation.  Satan wants us to completely give in to this world.  This world is fallen.  Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey brought creation into a battle that is constant.  We are always in a position of doing good or doing bad.  Remember the devil and angel on the shoulders of cartoon characters?  It’s real.

 

Some people have an idea that when you become a Christian, all the temptation goes away.  Not true….very not true!  In fact, I think the battle get’s bigger.  Temptation sticks around.  One thing to point out here though.  Temptation is not a sin.  Everyone has it.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  That verse is ‘book ended’ by two verses that say to ‘be careful’ and ‘flee.’  We might think we are strong, but temptations are always around us.  We are always able to give in.  Paul says to be careful, and then to flee when we see temptation staring us in the face.

 

It ultimately comes down to our decision.  Jesus beat temptation with one thing.  Truth.  He knew it and could speak it.  It was His foundation.  From Truth, he saw temptation for what it was and was then able to stand up against it.  He then died on the cross to forgive us when our own decisions fall short of holiness…so we can become holy.

 

Questions to consider:

  • Knowing that when you wake up, temptation begin, how do you begin your day?  Jesus began with some time with His Father.
  • Even more so, do you take literally the verses in the Bible that speak the Truth about the Spirit being with us all the time and everywhere we are?  The reason He’s there?  Because temptation is all around us and we need a guardian and guide.  Through Him we have access to God’s power and wisdom and knowledge.  (go to www.youversion.com search for temptation or tempted to learn more)
  • Here’s an idea I just had…before going into any situation, ask God what temptations might be lurking…so you’re ready for them.  Role play this right now…it’s a helpful exercise this right now.  Tonight I’m going to be going into the Fellowship Hall to eat Wednesday night dinner.  What temptations might be there?  How can I live holier when I’m there?  I think these are very appropriate things to talk about with God.  It will make you stronger.

 

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