Saturday, 31 January 2015

Temptations - are you struggling with temptation?

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days. The devil tried to take advantage of Jesus in His hungry condition. We can imagine that after having been without food, Jesus's physical body will have been quite worn down. So satan tries to tempt Jesus into caving in to his own physical needs. But Jesus has just spent days in communion with the Heavenly Father, so even though in His body, he is in need of nourishment, He is strong. Jesus rebukes and says : Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Satan continues on with other temptations but Jesus remains firm and strong and never gives the devil even a bit of ground and the angels come and attend to Him and take care of Him. Matthew 4:11  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him

Many times when people are discussing temptation, and trying to justify falling into temptations you will hear them say - Well, even Jesus was tempted, but He was God so, of course He didn't sin. That is true - Jesus is God and He didn't sin.
There are two aspects of temptation that I would like to address. The first is  the real definition of temptation and secondly standing strong in the face of temptation.

1) What is the definition of temptation?
The answer is found in James 1: 14-15  where it says : But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Temptation is the act of Satan presenting something unrighteous (something that he thinks you might desire) before you, perhaps with a thought in your mind or a picture in a magazine or on TV.  If you have made the decision to live faithfully for the Lord you will have absolutely no desire for whatever it is that satan places before you. You will honestly say No, I do not want that, I do not need that and you refuse to take a second look or toy with the thought at all. It is awesome if  you can quote a Bible verse at such a time since satan cannot stand against the Word of God. That is what it means to not sin in a temptation.
If on the other hand, satan places a thought into your mind or puts a picture in front of you and you desire it in your heart- you have already sinned and you need to repent before God even though you have only sinned in your thoughts and desires at this point.  At this point lust has been conceived and sin is present. When not dealt with, this then will lead to death - spiritually and in relationships, and sometimes actual physical death.

How to Stand Strong against Temptation?
Let's think back to Jesus in His temptation experience. Jesus had just spent 40 days with God so though He was weak physically, He was strong in His Spirit. If Jesus needed to get away from people and busyness of life and spend time with His Heavenly Father - how much more do we need to get serious about spending time with our Heavenly Father. The closer we walk with the LORD,  the more victory we will experience in every area of our life. So we need to daily, ( I mean daily) spend time in the Bible and become quiet before the LORD and allow Him to soak and saturate us with His Word and in this way His desires become our own personal desires. The more we have with the LORD, the less we want of the world and it's useless pleasures. We need to get Scripture into our minds so that throughout our day, we are thinking and meditating on the things of the Lord. We need to have Scripture in our mind and in this way we can quote it and Satan cannot stand against the Words of the Bible and He must flee.
Our desire becomes to do only that which pleases the LORD and brings glory to Him!!
Psalm 37:4  Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

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