OVERCOMING TEMPTATIONS

Louise and John have been married for nine years. They have a daughter Kathy who is seven. They both have careers and doing well financially.

Each came from Christian families and attends church on regular bases. John is addicted to sports and plays golf most Saturdays with his friends. Like many guys he is somewhat self-centered and the marriage centers on him.

Louise works with Jim who has invited her out to lunch a couple of times to talk about business. They spend some time at work discussing work problems and occasionally personal problems. Jim seems to give her more attention than her husband. After a period of time Jim tells Louise he would like to show her his garden and give her some vegetables to take home. This seems rather innocent. She stops by and things get out of hand. She begins to occasionally stop by and rationalizes that she is getting more attention from Jim than she is getting at home. Jim’s friend at works asks what is going on between Louise and him. In confidence, Jim confesses that they are having an affair. Shortly, the gossip at work is about Louise and Jim’s affair. A friend of Louise’s husband John lets him in on the secret relationship. Draw your own conclusion as to how the story ends. Many times temptations start out very innocently and develop beyond one’s control.

Do you think Louise would have ever allowed what developed if she knew what the consequence would be? There is no adult that is never tempted. I Corinthians 10:13 & 14 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.”

There is a difference between trials and temptation. God allows trials to build up our faith, trust or preparing us for something great later on. Temptations come from our bodies that are lustful, the devil or worldly ways. Temptation is not a sin. Yielding to it is. Many know that our spirit and soul may have been saved but we are living in an unsaved (so to speak) carnal body. It is a body that houses the spirit and soul but can be self-centered, lustful and full of pride. The Bible calls it man’s carnal nature. Scripture tells us we can walk in the flesh or walk in the spirit. If we walk in the flesh we may be easily tempted. If we walk in the spirit our chances of yielding to temptation lessens significantly.

Galatians 5:16 – “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

What are things that cause Christians to be tempted? It could be wanting a better home, cars, jewelry, finances, fashions, alcohol, drugs or anything that might separate us from God. Temptation starts with thinking about something that sounds exciting. We may fantasize or start imagining what it would be like if we had it. The more we ponder the greater is the desire. I then must choose. If I buy that more expensive car I will have to cut back on my tithing. I am going ahead. God will forgive me.

Philippians 2:3 & 4 – “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:”

Sin is when I yield and never took time to figure out what the consequence might be if I make this decision. However, if I allow my attitude to become more Christ-like, normally I will make the right decision. We can walk in the spirit. I have been privileged to see many times supernatural events and miracles take place. We all make mistakes. But we do not have to deliberately make a mistake for a selfish desire. If you love someone enough you will want to please them. This is how we should feel about our relationship with God. We should never allow temptation to separate us from God’s will.

We must ask ourselves what tempts us the most. Are there certain times we are more tempted? What must I do to keep from being tempted? Ask God if you make this choice will it displease Him? If the answer is yes, you will know you shouldn’t do it. Or do you ignore the checking of the Holy Spirit?

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