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Temptation

May 10th, 2012

“Blessed is the one who endures temptation.” James 1:12 NKJV

“You are not an exception when tempted, but you can choose to be exceptional.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “temptation.”

The comedian who said, “I can resist almost anything except temptation,” was humorous but missed the point altogether. Temptation is exactly what you must resist. You cannot avoid temptation, but you can refuse to be vulnerable to its enticement. Your moral and spiritual well-being, potential for success, relationships, quality of life, and possibly your soul, may rest upon your determination to conquer temptations. Temptation is the devil’s brazen attempt to steal your future. The Bible refers to every person’s experience as “temptation . . such as is common to man.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV. To be tempted is not unusual, but yielding to temptation is always spiritually harmful.

Temptation is a strong, insistent urge to abandon caution and risk long-term benefits for short-term gratification. Temptation assumes urgency and priority that is hard to resist because of its resonance with desire in one’s own fallen nature. The tactic is not new, but as old as the Garden of Eden. Eve fell prey to the devil’s aspersions, doubting God’s character and truthfulness and believing the devil’s slanderous insinuation that God was unfairly withholding something good, pleasant, and satisfying. Refer to Genesis 3:1-6 NKJV. You know how well that turned out!

Denying you are tempted only strengthens its secret attraction. The power of temptation is weakened when you stop hiding the thought and desire, exposing its allure to the light of God’s truth and a trusted friend’s confidence. Stop temptation before you can’t; it is not something to toy with. There are temptations too strong to resist on your own. “Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.” You are not an exception when tempted, but you can choose to be exceptional. “And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, God will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT.

The way to beat temptation is to stay as close to God as you can. Jesus is your best example. Read Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil . . Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing the flesh is weak.” Luke 11:4 KJV/Mark 14:38 NLT.

James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church at Jerusalem, wrote, “God blesses the people who patiently endure testing [temptation]. Afterward, they will receive the Crown of Life God has promised to those who love Him.” Read James 1:12-17 NLT. Submit to God; resist the devil. James 4:6-10 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace only what brings you closer to God.

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