DEALING WITH TEMPTATIONS

I recently learned of a Christian leader who found himself in a mess.  He was drawing unemployment compensation and at the same time had a job.  My first reaction was why would a Christian be tempted to defraud the government or anyone? As a voluntary leader in his church how will that affect those he was leading?

A person is not going to be tempted unless it is for something pleasurable or a material benefit.  How often do people become tempted without ever thinking of the consequence?  A non-believer probably does not care what the consequences are but why would a Christian allow themselves to deliberately sin?

I Corinthians 10:13 – “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. 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.” NLT

God gives us an assurance that the Holy Spirit will assist us and there is no temptation we cannot resist if we chose to do so.  Christians who sin do so believing that they can get away with it.  No one will find out.  However, their uncontrolled passion accounts for their failure and when they fail, they are accountable to God.

No matter what we are tempted with, God says He will give us a way out.  One’s carnal nature, with little self-control, doesn’t always look for the exit.

There were times in the Bible when God tested a person through a temptation.  Often we learn from our failures and their consequences.  Sinning can teach a person what happens when they try doing things without seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.  I believe many Christians simply ignore the Holy Spirit unless they are facing trials or encountering difficult problems.

Ephesians 6:12 – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Our struggles are also from the power of spiritual forces of evil.  Satan is our enemy and is constantly tempting us.  Satan is in opposition to God and wants to bring down our relationship with Him.  He does not want us to be a part of God’s family.  Christians realize they cannot stand up to him in their own power.  The Book of Daniel in chapter 10 tells us of the many fallen angels and evil spirits and how powerful they are.  Satan has millions of emissaries that gather information and inflict problems on the human race.  Their purpose is to also enslave people into all forms of idolatry, involvement in cults, deceptive philosophies, evolution and climate change.

Stop and think how immoral society has become.  The powers of darkness flame our lusts, our human passions and our self-centered natures suggesting that we yield to sin.  As we get closer to the end time, which we do not know when, it seems we are getting back to the pagan religions prior to Christ coming two thousand years ago.  At that time pagans had temples and temple prostitutes and sex was a part of their worship service.

Our self-centered and sinful nature is placing thoughts into our minds just as rapidly as the evil powers.  Out of our hearts come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, fornication, thefts, false witness and blasphemies.  Just seeing the world’s pleasures being offered can be enticing. Don’t let Satan corrupt your heart and mind by displaying ugly passion instead of love for Christ.  Then add instant gratification, a great temptation, and the need to have what everyone else has and have it now. And what must we do to get it: credit cards and installment payments that continually cause us to spend much more than we earn.  Thus, when we yield and give in, we can suffer anxiety, stress and possibly depression because we are unable to make our payments.

We all have areas of weakness in our lives and the devil knows each one.  We must be honest with ourselves and determine what these weaknesses might be.  We then must deal with each and get rid of it before we will ever have joy and peace in our lives.    Here are some temptations that cause us to sin: unforgiveness, greed, pride, lies, lust, unbelief, anger, love of money and others.  Make a list and accept responsibility that it is a problem in your life.  Then believe that you can eliminate each temptation that leads to sin. Be aware that you will be attacked and influenced in these areas that are a problem. Then believe in the promise of Philippians 4:13 – “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” And I will!

I Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Spiritual warfare is serious and the enemy is real.  Evil influences seek to harm us and our family.  They want to destroy our witness and hinder the work of God.  If you think you can handle the two negative influences, our carnal nature and evil without God’s help you are in trouble; that is if your desire is to not yield to temptation.  The Apostle Paul, with all of his knowledge, found that he could not win without the Holy Spirit’s help.  So if we let our self-centered nature get out of control and ignore the Holy Spirit, we are on our own and we know what the result will be: Convicted of sinning and pronounced guilty—and Satan wins!   Don’t you want to be the winner?

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