1) 2 Timothy 2:22 (TLB); 2) 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
1) Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have, but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. Have faith and love, and enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord and have pure hearts. 2) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Temptation is nice. That’s the trouble with it! It’s nicer, in the short term at least, than doing what is right. Even the apostle Paul writes: “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Rom 7:19 NLT) and in the NIV translation it translates “This I keep on doing” at the end!
As I reflect on temptation this morning, I realise that it is a big theological issue for me with very real implications on the way I think about God, sin and my salvation: If I am saved by God and given the power of the Holy Spirit, why do I still struggle with sin in my life? Surely I should be doing better by now!!
To deal with this tension, I realise my head goes in all sorts of different places:
1) Denial: “When I react that way it isn’t really sin…”
2) Downplay: “Its not that big a problem, its not hurting anyone”
3) Over spiritualise: “Its OK because Jesus covers it”
4) Over naturalise: “This is just who I am, its the way I am made up, I cant help it”
There are probably more, but essentially, I try to justify myself out of sin. The reality is, though, that every time I give into temptation and fall in sin, its a nail in the Cross. Even if the rest of the world was perfect, the only way I can ever be right with God, after the “littlest” sin, is for Jesus to die in my place.
I am thankful that God would send His Son to die for me, and the gravity of His death reminds me that I must constantly strive to live out my purpose; part of which is becoming a conqueror of temptation!
Lord, I praise you for the opportunity to think and reflect this morning on how I need to work on correcting my thinking in regards to temptation and for the fresh energy you have given me to lean into you, and to exercise my will to progressively defeat temptation in my life.
Written by Pastor Justin Ware