Resisting Temptation, a Serious Look

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  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.

–          1 Corinthians 10:13

 

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.

–          2 Chronicles 16:9

 

 

“Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.”

–          C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

“The satellite picked up red blotches across the landscape of China that weren’t there a week before when the satellite last passed over the region. What was going on? Some mysterious chemistry that might create a new weapon? The scene of a bloody war? “What on Earth?” is a television series based on satellite imagery uncovering mysteries. They frequently, and embarrassingly, come up with ridiculous conjecture, fables and guesses. More often than not, the mystery images are easily and logically explained. In China, the 250,000-ton chili pepper harvest had been laid out to dry.

“Today’s verse [2 Chronicles 16:9] says God is consistently observing the earth, looking for ways to display His strength in the lives of the righteous. He’s looking for blameless hearts: Hearts that are fully surrendered to Him; hearts that are humble; hearts that are obedient and faithful.

“What is your heart’s condition today? As God’s eyes search across the landscape of your community, will He stop at you and say, ‘There is someone through whom I can show My strength and righteousness today.’ Pray as you conduct your own heart check.”

–          Presidential Prayer Team Devotion

 

 

Looking at the last quote first, note that the text talks about a ‘blameless heart.’  How can we be blameless when we sin?  First, the true believer knows that he is forgiven, and God no longer looks upon our sin.  Why beat yourself up over it?  Yet, knowing that we are sinful people, it humbles us before God.  God gave us eternal life if we believe and trust in Jesus as a gift.

 

Being blameless may be impossible as we look on Romans 7, but Romans 8 provides God’s Grace.  Yet, in 1 Corinthians 10, we are offered a way out, away from temptation.  C. S. Lewis says that it is not easy.

 

Here are some of the easy steps we can take to avoid the situations and locations of temptation.  If drinking alcohol is a problem, avoiding the office Christmas party and avoiding meeting friends at the bar might be the answer.  It is obvious that someone tempted to lust should avoid strip clubs, but what of these modern restaurants that subject the female waitresses with too tight fitting blouses or short-short skirts or shorts?  Of course, understanding your weaknesses for temptation, praying and reading the Bible before the unavoidable social encounter may be a help.

 

Reading the Bible more and praying more, regardless of the situation, is helpful.  The Holy Spirit provides the strength to resist temptation.  Reading the Bible and praying fills you with good thoughts, while providing less room for not-so-good thoughts or actions.  Knowing what time of day that you are the weakest is important.  If you are susceptible to temptation late in the day, that may be the best time to read an additional devotion.

 

I have discussed this in my old Sunday school class that a morning devotion time is important to kick the day off properly, but one class member argued that they were out of sorts for half the morning.  They felt like going to God at night, when they were more alert and comfortable was better.  This person’s own words illustrate why they, especially, needed a morning devotion.  They admitted that they were grumpy, cantankerous, ill-at-ease, and downright mean for half the morning, at a minimum.  None of those attributes illustrate a blameless heart.  Search yourself, and know when you need a boost, to help against temptation.

 

Most of the ‘anonymous’ programs have sponsors.  Reaching out to a fellow Christian that you know will maintain your confidence can help you through a troubling time with temptation.  It means opening up to someone else.  If you cannot manage that, know that when you accepted Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit entered also.  The Holy Spirit is ready to listen.  You can hear His voice, when you are ready as well.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

 

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