Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Additional Insight

The following is part of an email that was sent to me by my friend David in response to my last post:

I would like to add two more suggestions with how to deal with temptation that were not coverered, and I believe these to be the most important:

The Word of God

The Bible says in the book of Hebrews that we have a Savior who understands our every weakness because he too was tempted in all the ways we are and yet did not fall into sin. Yes, Jesus was tempted with sin. So, the real question is, how did our Lord deal with temptation when it came upon him? Lets look at Matthew 4:1-11.

What do we take away from this encounter of our Lord with the tempter himself? Well, this event happened immediately after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, when the clouds were rent in two, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove, and God the Father echoed His voice above "This is my beloved Son". Needless to say, a pretty big spiritual event. One of the main times that we will experience temptation is right after a blessing or spiritual high point. It is the moment in which we feel the strongest in our faith, and also the time in which we can get the wind knocked out of us. We let our guard down. Jesus modeled this weakness well by fasting for 40 days and nights, which would have left him exhausted, emaciated, and starving. Then the devil came to Him, and tempted his flesh..."Since your starving and all, and if you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread". Then off to the temple mount, tempting the pride of Jesus for Him to misuse his authority. Then to the top of the whole world, tempting Jesus with the chance to avoid the cross...the devil will give to Jesus all he came to win back on the cross for nothing more than worship. Very tempting for our Savior, our "man of sorrows". For all that Christ won on the cross to be handed to him?

How did Jesus respond to all three of these temptions? Flesh, pride, and suffering? He said, "Begone, it is written...". It is written! Jesus flipped the lies of the devil on itself by confronting them with the truth of Gods word. There are so many things we can do that may even seem right or godly by the worlds wisdom, but in the light of the Word seem foolishness. We need to desperatly to put our whole weight on the word of God. If we want the strength of God when the temptation arrives, we need to drench our spirits in the Word. If we dont know the truth, how can we turn away from the lie? In the book of Ephesians, the word of God is called the "Sword of the Spirit". All the things we do to brace ourselves against temptation are great, but they are all defensive in nature. A sword is a offensive weapon, to strike out at the lies and the deception and destory it. I think the psalmist said it best in Psalm 119:9-16.

God in His mercy provides a way of escape for every temptation

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

How merciful is our Lord that he will protect us and never allow any temptation into our lives that we cannot bear, and that for every temptation there is a way out? It may be as simple as the prompting to turn off the computer, or hang up the phone, or even something more supernatural. But God never lets a temptation pass without at least some way for us to turn away from it. I heard of a bumper sticker once that said, "Lead us not into temptation, I can find it myself". Very true. Most of the time temptation does not have to come find me, I dance on the edge of the flames and almost fall in. This should not be. But thanks be to God, he has got my back even when I am being totally stupid.

So, basically, in additon to all the great points you mentioned. Fight back with the Word of God, and take confidence in our way of escaping the snares of the devil.

Remember, it is always easier to shun the bait than struggle in the trap.

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