Thursday, February 11, 2010

Temptation, Part 2

One of the first lessons I learned years ago, as a new Christian, was something about the nature of sin...  I will never forget reading in James one morning and coming to the verses James 1:13-15, "When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

It was verse 15 that really grabbed my attention...  "After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin..."   Desire and temptation do not equal sin...   It struck me that there must be, at least, a moment between the desire being conceived and sin being born.  So I had to learn to grab hold of that moment...

When God first led me to that verse, I was a 'yeller.'  I allowed my anger to grab hold of me and I would yell, or sometimes rage, at my children or even my husband.  But shortly after I became a Christian, God touched my heart that I was sinning and He broke my heart as He caused me to start looking into their eyes when I would yell at them...  So I became desperate to find a way to break that pattern of anger.

As I realized that there was a moment between desire and sin, I started praying that I would learn to grab hold of that moment and make a different choice.  It didn't happen overnight...   I had to learn to recognize the warning signs ...  There are always warning signs...   maybe they're physiological, the body tensing, the stirring in the pit of your stomach, or maybe they're emotional...  boredom, sadness, frustration, discouragement...   but they are ALWAYS there!

To recognize the warning signs though, I had to learn to live more intentionally, instead of just letting life carry me along.  But in time, I learned (by His Power), to grab hold of that moment and make a different choice.  Our home became a much more peaceful place.

I'm sorry to say that there are other areas where I have not applied that so well, but all things in their time.  And some of those things have their time THIS year!!  It is time, once again, to learn to grab hold of that moment between desire and sin, and make a different choice.  I'm tired of life living me...carrying me along...  I want to live life...  I want to live intentionally...  That is the only way I will ever live a life that  pleases and glorifies God...  It is the only way I will live a life of victory!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I have been thinking ALOT about temptation lately...  There are some areas of my life that I have decided that I am FED UP with battling, so 2010 is going to be the year of transformation.  I don't care how many times I stumble or fall, I don't care how hard it is, I am NOT going to give up!!

And one of the verses I've been meditating on is 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No tempation has seized you, expect what is common to man.  And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  And when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

I decided to look at each piece of the verse, with a Greek dictionary because I wanted a better understanding of what God is teaching me about winning the battles we all face in this life...

No...  I love how Vine's Dictionary says it...  "expressing a negation absolutely"  It's not just no, it's absolutely no!

Temptation... in Vine's "a trying or a testing."  God uses temptation to try or test us!

Seized..."to lay hold of, to take and not let go, to carry away, to circumvent one by fraud, to obtain possession of something

Doesn't that just describe temptation to a tee!  It lays hold of carries me away and it won't let go...sometimes it deceives me and it often feels like it possesses me...  If you've ever craved chocolate, or that new pair of shoes, you know what I'm talking about!  Sometimes it feels like you just can't say no (feel being the operative word there)...  Feelings are deceptive!

Common to man..."after the manner of men...belonging to men"  In other words, it is NOT of God but of the flesh!!

So No...absolutely not one temptation...enticement...has ever seized us, carried us away, deceived us, that was strange or different than those experienced by man since Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden...  The enemy doesn't have any new tricks up his sleeve...  God is not surprised by anything!!

And the good news, God is faithful!!! He is trustworthy...

The Greek for "not let you" is "allow or permit"...  So He is trustworthy to not allow or permit us to be tempted (or tested) beyond what we can bear...  Nothing comes to us that doesn't first pass through His hand...  He may not send it, but He does allow it...  (Remember, one of the words for tempt was 'to test')

Bear is actually the word "dynamis"...  It's related to the word for power, that gives us our word dynamite!!  It's actually better translated as 'able'...  "beyond what you are able" or have the power, or the resources, to withstand...

In other words, there is NO temptation to great for God's power in us (the Holy Spirit!!)  WOW, now that's exciting!!

But there's more!! 

And when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it!

Provide...  to make or bring forth... 

Way out...  it's better translated as 'a way of escape'!

I LOVE that!!  Has temptation ever felt so great to you that you just didn't think there was any thing to do but to give in to it?  That there couldn't possibly be a way out?  This tells us that those feelings are a lie from the enemy...  If we turn to God, He will make a way out for us, He will help us escape!! 

How great is that....  God...the great I AM... Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, reaches down from heaven and provides an escape for us!!

And He does it so that we can stand up under means "to bear from underneath!"  Again, I just love that picture!!  Temptation often feels like a heavy burden, but God gives us a way to stand up underneath the weight of it!  It doesn't have to weigh us doesn't have to crush us or defeat us...  Temptation can, and often will, settle on our hearts and minds but God says, "I have made a way out...If you look to Me, I will make you strong and able to stand up underneath it!"

But here's the thing...we have to want God's way out and take it...  we have to love Him more than the momentary pleasure offered by the temptation.  I often think of Gallum in Lord of the Rings...  I can't remember which movie, but there's a scene that is burned into my memory.  He's holding the ring that they are trying to destroy...  He knows it is evil, he knows it is the thing that has made him ugly and despicable, but he just can't let it go...  And as he sits holding the ring, he carresses it and calls it "Precious."

But too often, God shows me that I am cherishing my sin in much the same way...  And like Gallum, it keeps me from being the person God created me to be...  It pollutes my soul and my relationship with Him.

God will give us the way out, but we have to stop cherishing our sin and take it... 

I am so thankful that I am not fighting these battles on my own...  "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the LORD.  Zechariah 4:6  I am so thankful that God remembers that we are formed from dust and gives us a way to say no to temptation!  I am so thankful that mighty God of the Universe loves me enough to walk this journey of transformation with me... He is truly an awesome God!!