2008-08-08 - Resisting Temptations
James 1:13 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
Last week, we talked about resisting temptations. This week, I want to look at some practical ways to go about standing firm against schemes that are designed to make us fail.
First, it helps me to realize that God does not tempt us, but He will test us. The tests are designed to build us up. And throughout the Bible, we read about the tempter being Satan. Temptations are made to tear us down.
So, when the tough times come, I stop and ask, "Am I being tested or tempted? With tests, I pray, teach my Lord, tell me what you want me to learn. With temptations, I am learning to resist and flee.
I flee and resist best, when my "spiritual tank" is full of supercharged high octane spirit fuel. My prayer life, Bible study, Christian reading, fellowship with others, and love for people and God are at a peak level. I know my life is out of balance, when my ability to resist is low.
While the evil one, the tempter, can attack any part of our lives, we can live in practical ways to reduce these attacks. If pornography is a problem, then stay away from even what the deceiver will tempt you into to thinking is only "soft" porn. I know very few recovering alcoholics that will keep company with their former alcoholic friends, and continue to hang out at the local pub. It's simple, yet practical.
Constantly measure your "thought" life. What are you thinking about the most? Our minds are the devil's workshop. He will place deceptive thoughts in there. Thoughts that are designed for us to believe are true. It is his favorite tactic. Thoughts like, "are you sure God meant you cannot do that?" "You are never going to amount to anything." "You a depriving yourself of the pleasure God designed you to have."
Friends, test your thoughts. Is this thought really true? Does it contradict God's Word? If the answer is contrary to what you know is the Truth, then ask God to stop these thoughts. Seek God first.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
So keep your spiritual tank on full. Flee temptations, endure and learn from tests. Learn to stop and recognize the deceptions that are placed in your minds. Live one day at a time, thinking "today, I will not let this sin come into my life." I will not be devoured by the evil one, for I am a child of God. I am in Christ, who gives me the strength to resist - and apart from Him, I am nothing."