by Pastor Tim Burt
Temptation: we all face it. When we learn of God’s ways, we want to turn from evil and instead live for the Lord. We want to think, speak, and do, that which will please the Lord and help usher blessing into our lives. But then there are those things that come up in our life that we know we should avoid because they either represent something that isn't good for us, or something the Lord has personally asked us to refrain from, or that represent evil. And yet you know how it is; when we can’t or shouldn't have it, the temptation to want it seems to grow. I’ll tell why.
As Christians regarding temptation, something has changed. When we lived without Christ, we had some sense of right and wrong—not governed by God’s Word but by the ethical boundaries we somehow picked up from the world on the path of life. But temptations raged and we often felt helpless to its power over us. People cave in daily to things they should not do. They don’t realize that without Jesus Christ, there is a demonic influence that leads them to and keeps them engaged in things they know they should not engage in.
When one becomes a Christian and receives Jesus as their personal Savior, the Holy Spirit comes instantly to live within that person and now the power of demonic influence is broken. At that point, it's not demonic power that is your problem, but simply the command from God to renewing your mind from its old ways of thinking. This is how God brings transformation to you. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
So then, if this is true—the power of demonic influence over you being broken, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit, then why do we still deal with temptation? You only deal with temptation when you forget who you are in Christ and begin to think like you did before you received Him—selfishly. You are tempted when once again you begin to make life all about you! You want this, you want that. That was how you lived before Christ. But you are now led by the Spirit of God and life is about loving others with His love. That means you now make right decisions governed by your love for God and for the sake of others.
A few weeks back, God began to deal with me about losing some weight. I don’t think anyone thought I was fat. Yet, I knew I had grown thicker and weighed more than I should. I could have said, “So what! The majority of people are more overweight than me.” That would be making it about me by defending me and being critical of others to protect myself. No, the Lord wanted me to lose weight because He told me it would affect my ability to influence others for Him. He didn't explain how or why, and to me, that isn't important. Obedience is! I trust His reasons. But now my reason to do this is out of love for Him and for others. This is where the power of God is strongest and temptation is reduced to its weakest state. Making my choices born out of my love for God and for others, strengthens me to succeed and breaks the power of temptation. My mind isn't on me. It is on the joy of succeeding for the blessing it will bring to others. This is the joy Jesus faced and lived for in His temptation.
Hebrews 12:2 says, “We cast off the temptation of sin by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the JOY He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.”
I have found a renewed strength and have lost 16 pounds so far. It’s about so much more than just losing weight. Other blessings have come into play because of resisting temptations. I just have to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and His motivation for why He did what He did, and in doing so, I am strengthened for the same reason.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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