Tag Archives: resisting temptation

Check Your Weapon (Jeremiah 46-48)

Do you get tired of this spiritual warfare you are fighting? You face the enemy, you resist temptation, flee from sin, and God gives you a victory. But you turn around, and there’s Satan again at the door with a new arsenal ready to lead yet another attack using another temptation, then another, and another.

God, through Jeremiah, is talking about judgment on the nations that rejected Him. The truth is, anyone who rejects God faces judgment. And every time we sin, we are rejecting God.

That’s why I don’t read about “them” in Scripture. What was true in Jeremiah’s time is still true today. Like this:

Ah, sword of the Lord,” you cry, “how long till you rest? Return to your scabbard; cease and be still.” But how can it rest when the Lord has commanded it, when he has ordered it to attack Ashkelon and the seacoast?” (47:6-7)

If you aren’t weary of the spiritual warfare, you aren’t fighting the spiritual enemy. How can you think about resting when God has commanded it? Hear what He has to say about that:

A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord’s business! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed! (48:10)

How clean is your sword? Is it stained with Satan’s blood because you have stood up for Truth, you’ve resisted temptation, you’ve introduced someone to the Savior? Do you go to bed at night spent, exhausted from being a soldier in God’s army, doing this and that, going here and there, speaking to this person and that person, tending to the needs of others God brings to mind, studying God’s Word, growing, maturing, being stretched and pulled as He transforms you into someone who isn’t afraid to strike a blow in the heart of Satan?

Or are you lax in doing God’s work? Have you put away your sword and are content to leave it there shiny and new? I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where God retires his soldiers. I don’t see an age limit to picking up your sword and using it in the fight for the kingdom of God. I don’t see any army or any soldier in Scripture who went home after winning one battle. This is war!

Check your weapon. I pray it is nicked, and stained, and ready for another battle. I’m checking mine.

Don’t Walk. Run! (Proverbs 7-9)

What is the temptation that, for you, is the hardest to resist? Greed? Lying? Gluttony? Pride? or something else? Solomon is using the picture of adultery to describe the seriousness of giving into the temptation Satan would use to entice you away from holiness.

The woman in 7:10 is loud and defiant and has no shame. She promises the young man that she has fancied up her bed with beautiful blankets and perfume. (She’s obviously not going to tempt him with the truth that her bedding has seen plenty of action and the perfume is an attempt to cover up the stench of sins committed there)

The truth is, you can dress sin up, douse it in sweet smelling rationalization or denial, but it’s still ugly, messy, dangerous SIN  that would reduce you to the level of an ox going to slaughter, a deer in a noose, a bird in a snare.

Gotcha!

Solomon tells us the woman’s house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chamber of death (7:27). Whatever pleasure she promises comes with horrible consequences she has no intention of discussing.

So, what is the temptation that’s hardest for you to resist? See it for what it is. It is not innocent, not insignificant, it’s not harmless even if you convince yourself at least it’s not on the level of murder. Behind the temptation is a lion seeking to devour you. Do you understand that? Satan is not playing.

Walk away. No! Run away! Your life depends on it.

 

May 28; The Right To Resist

Proverbs 5-7

Yesterday we remembered the sacrifices so many men and women have made to insure the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States. Our freedom is a privilege bought at a great price. But those freedoms are a blessing – and a curse.

Because the freedom of free speech has turned into an entertainment industry of violence and depravity, a news and social media full of lies and hate. The freedom to pursue happiness has resulted in aborted babies, mutilated bodies, and an unprecedented demand for individual rights at the expense of the rights of the majority. The abuse of our rights and freedoms have rendered us slaves.

It didn’t happen overnight. Solomon warns us that the “adulteress,” (sin), entices, woos, comes innocently enough until she leads her victims down to the chamber of death. Her victims go like deer stepping into a noose.

Does one drink cause an alcoholic? Does one look at pornography cause an addiction, or rapists and child molesters? Does one glance cause an affair?

No. But hear Solomon’s warning. One leads to two, to three until the “adulteress” has you in her clasp. What starts as innocent curiosity, winds up enslaving her victim in sin.

I’m glad I live in the Unites States of America. I’m thankful for the freedoms that are ours at the costly price of the lives of men and women who wore the uniform of our armed forces. I’m sorry we’ve abused the rights their injuries and deaths insured. And I pray that Christians will heed Solomon’s warning, recognize the temptation to misuse our freedom, and be the people God intended us to be. May we see the “adulteress” for what she is, Satan, the enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us.

And may we exercise our right to resist her.

Leviticus 15&16; We Are Healed

It’s tempting to pass over the chapters that talk about diseases. I certainly don’t like reading them when I’m eating. But I sit here today and consider why God included these instructions to us in His Word.

What do you think? Should we read them, thank God for antibiotics, and move on? Or can there be a lesson we need to learn in 2017 in these verses?

All Scripture is given for inspiration, reproof, correction, instruction. So I’m thinking there’s a lesson here.

It occurs to me that we are all born with a terminal blood disease called sin. Left unchecked, that disease will kill us. But when we get a blood transfusion, so to speak, and have Jesus’ precious blood flowing through our veins, we are miraculously healed! No longer a disgusting disease. Clean!

Sin is not only terminal, but that disease is highly contagious.

So God, through Moses, is telling us to stay away from the disease (sin). Don’t touch it. Don’t take it lightly. Cleanse yourselves and your surroundings to prevent contamination. In other words, don’t put yourself in situations or have things around you that would compromise your spiritual health, that would tempt you to sin.  It’s clear that we live with, and love people who are diseased. But we need to be careful that their disease does not cause us to sin, too.

Isaiah 53:5 came to mind as I was thinking about disease. I have often heard that verse quoted as people claim the promise of healing from cancer, or some other sickness. After all, it says “… by His stripes we are HEALED.”

But when I read the whole verse, Isiah is referring to the sickness of sin:

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV, emphasis mine)

Healed of what? The disease of sin. Our transgressions refer to our terminal heart condition, our iniquities our incurable blood disease. But through Christ, we are healed!

So that’s what I’m taking from reading this chapter this morning. Moses’ instructions help me understand that there are some things I need to do to prevent being contaminated by the world. And it’s pretty consistent with what Paul tells us to do as well. Flee. Resist. Strive. Turn.

I am clean through the blood of Jesus. No longer carrying a terminal disease. I am healed!

 

I Can’t Sin (read on)

John says anyone who has been born of God cannot sin. (I John 3) He even says, if you sin you’ve neither seen God nor know Him.

As one who is born again, born of God, I am confused because I sin. Just the other day I told a story that was half-truth, half-lie (I almost called it “creative license” but that wouldn’t be the truth)

Even Paul said he struggled with doing what he shouldn’t, and not doing what he knew he should. Jesus pointed out sin in his own disciples, even calling Peter Satan moments after telling Peter he would be the Rock.

I know some dear people who believe they lose their salvation every time they sin, because this verse says a Christian can’t sin. I’m not sure about that interpretation. But because this verse is in the Bible, it’s clear that God wants us to know His children can’t sin. So…?

If you read the whole section, and not just this one verse, it makes sense. There is an “if” there. IF we abide in Him, sin can’t exist in our lives because there is no sin in God. I believe that when we sin, it’s an indication that we have stepped away from Him. And all sin – even my embellished story – is of Satan.

If I abide in the Father by spending time with Him in His Word and prayer, if my walk with Him is intentional, if I pay attention to the warning signs He so lovingly puts in my way, and if I purposefully acknowledge His Presence with every breath I take – I cannot sin. Sin and God cannot exist together.

So this verse is true… and it’s a challenge. As I consider this portion of Scripture and the story I told the other day, I realize that during my telling God whispered in my ear, “you know that’s not what happened.” But I continued telling my tale. The thought again came to me… “why are you’re lying?” but that, too didn’t stop me. It was an entertaining story. I wanted to see how it ended.

As I look back on the decades since I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was born into God’s family, I see that there have been times when my walk with the Lord was my first priority. And I see that during those times, the temptation to sin was more easily ignored. I recognize that God was actively helping me to win the battle with my enemy, and we won time and time again.

But it was at those times that I held the Lord at arms length, those times when I didn’t want to turn my back on Him exactly, but I also didn’t want to include Him in every detail of my life, that I was weak to resist temptation. It was at those time I sinned, I rationalized my sin, and I ignored the One who loves me to death.

I am challenged today to abide in God. I want Him to be such a part of my life that sin has no control over me, that I am incapable of sinning because God and I exist together. The ability to live a sinless life is available.

If.