Temptation

Temptation is subtle and we can’t handle it. It seems so plausible and we can justify ourselves for every possible angle, but if it isn’t right, it will never be right. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are or who is involved, it is just wrong. Your mind will not agree that it is wrong, and neither will your will, but your feelings and your conscience will tell you so.

You should agree with them. Feelings are there for a purposes and God is so kind to give them to us. If you have strong feelings you should thank him, as they will be a great help to you. When we sin, we are hurting our dearest friend. He is insulted that you need wrong stuff to keep you happy, and that you are dissatisfied with your lot in life. We are really saying that Jesus our Lord and God, is not enough for us. We are telling Him that He is actually not all we need, but we need all the other things in life that we have in order to be validated as people, and counted as significant.

It is really our human pride behind it all, because we somehow think we have special privileges and our situation is different from other people. It is called foolishness. It is foolish to disobey the Lord, and although some situations may be difficult to work out, we have the single command to guide us…

“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”

Matthew 22:37

This is really all we need to know. Is the way I think, speak and act loving God? Is my heart, soul and mind dedicated to the Lord, and surrendered to Him alone?

Jesus said if we love Him, we must keep His commandments. We must keep ourselves in the love of God and in close fellowship with Him. The Scriptures are there to guide us in this, so we need to know them and be able to bring them to mind when we need them. We have Christian teaching to help us to understand and a whole plethora of books to read, that Christian people have written for our benefit. We have the indwelling voice of conscience to guide us, if we have kept it pure and righteous. We have the Holy Spirit within to teach us, lead us, bear with us and forgive us when we go wrong, but we must not grieve Him away from us by deliberate sin. All these helps are available to us, and it is wise to build up our faith by any means that we are able.

Perhaps we think we have found a grey area, that is a debatable point, and we try to get discussion going about the rights and workings of certain issues. Perhaps we have heard some one say it is an ok thing to think or do, but somehow, it still bothers us. Who should we listen to? If we are involved in something that is troubling our conscience, then surely that is a sign that it might not be a good idea to think or do! If we are not involved with reading our Bible and praying for others, perhaps our faith is going cold and we need to examine our Iives and thought patterns.

If God is holy, and we are sinful, who is speaking to us when we feel bad about something. Surely our consciences are not more sensitive than God. God is perfect, and He requires perfection. Our prayer should be for a sensitive conscience that feels the coming on of sin and can even side step a temptation and the usual onslaught of temptations that follow on.

God promise us help in that He will provide a way of escape for us from the temptation, but so often we don’t see the way out and we cave in so easily to the temptation, because we really want it. Once we do so, it is easier to give in the next time and the next time, and then we are stuck in a habit that is hard to break out of. God has promise he for us then too, in that His strength is able to deliver us from all evil, but we must want to be delivered. Our will is the key. Do I want my own way, or God’s way? This is the basic choice. Do I want to please God and enjoy his close fellowship, or do I want my own way?

If you feel bad about something, stop justifying yourself and stop doing the wrong. If you are a Christian you have the power God to help you to stop and change and become more holy in his sight. Your conscience is right and your reasoning is faulty. Justifying sin is a really bad idea. Who wants to pass up the right to walk with God and be useful to Him? Only someone who does not love God or His ways.

The Christian, and in fact every human being, has a virulent enemy who will stop at nothing to bring your spiritual life to a stand still and ruin your testimony and service for God. Don’t let him. Pray against temptation and recognise its onslaught and practice holy living and valuing the things that God values. As we study the word of God more and more, we get to know what God requires and our understanding and wisdom grows and we can become more like the saviour we love.

Our most vulnerable time is when we are feeling good about ourselves and we think we are doing ok and we can manage. We think we deserve certain things and we relax our guard. The enemy and also our sinful propensities are right there at our shoulder and temptation lurks. We must stay humble and be ever sensitive to our Saviour and what he did for us on the cross. Sins have caused Him such pain and we need to stay away from them. We should be hating them and anything that caused Him to suffer.

What if we are tempted about a real and justifiable need? What if I have a need but have not the means or opportunity to meet that need? Is it ok to find a way that might not be quite ideal? This is difficult and we find it quite easy to justify what we want to do. God says He will supply all our needs according to His riches. Either He will take away the need, or, more likely, He will give us the strength to cope with it and we will become stronger in faith and love. If we keep to the command of loving God, we will keep the commandments and our pathway will remain righteous.

Love for our Lord Jesus is our motivating factor, but not a spiritual blackmail, as some are wont to met out. To have to do something because you are told to “love Jesus” can actually leading us to do things for the wrong reason. We succumb to social pressure and we are not truly honest with ourselves, and the facing up is actually sidestepped and the issues not deal with.

Our walk with God is personal and we must be honest with ourselves about what we want and face our problems and temptations in the power of the Spirit within. The Holy Spirit will help us to be over-comers and how good that will feel.!! Learning too reason with yourself is a highly skilled spiritual exercise, and every Christian is commanded to examine themselves and make sure they are truly walking in faith. As we examine ourselves we can become aware of our weaknesses and failings, and can do something about them. To just walk on without thinking, does not benefit us and we cannot grow without this skill.

As we face our temptations, difficulties and failures, we can confess them to the Lord and He will freely pardon us. This will give us strength for the next time we face a difficulty and an encouragement when we will fall and fail. It will also cause us to praise our glorious Lord, who is so patient and kind and who will turn our rottenness to beauty and our failures to victory.

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