It is in the very nature of temptation that it is hard to resist and that it is common to every single person. Temptation takes many forms and has many disguises but be in no doubt that the aim of the one who tempts is to rob you of joy in your walk with God and the ultimate goal is to ruin you.
‘No one is above temptation. No one is above life in general’ – Kevin Jonas
And yet, every temptation is an opportunity either to bring glory to God through overcoming it or to bring pain to your soul through giving in.
‘We usually know what we can do, but temptation shows us who we are’ - Thomas a Kempis
‘Every time I say 'no' to a small temptation, I strengthen my will to say 'no' to a greater one’ – Mother Angelica
‘One of the important things about temptation is, if I'm going to deal with it I'm going to have to recognize, this is an area of weakness in my life. I have been tempted here before and before and before’ – Charles Stanley
It is a dangerous thing to trivialise the magnetic power of temptation – the closer you allow it to get to you, the stronger the pull.
‘I can resist everything except temptation’ – Oscar Wilde
‘Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch’ – Robert Orben
The temptation is not the sin, it is the putting of selfish desire before the precious relationship with God that is the sin – therein is the gateway to the guilt, shame and pain we allow to separate us from God’s best for us. The good news is that Jesus not only knows all about temptation from our perspective but that he also wants to help us overcome, every thing every time.
‘Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted’ - Hebrews 2:18
‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin’ - Hebrews 4:15
‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it’ - 1 Corinthians 10:13
The reality is that we will be tempted every day of our lives so we need to take God’s Word, to pray, to encourage one another to stand up under it, to recognise when it is happening, to look for the God-given escape route out and to take back any lost ground. God’s will is not that we get back into the shadow land of condemnation but that we bring all our failures and successes to him so we can live in the light of his presence.
‘Knowledge of God's Word is a bulwark against deception, temptation, accusation, even persecution’ – Edwin Louis Cole
‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’ - Matthew 6:13
‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’ - Mark 14:38
‘Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation’ - Luke 11:4
So whatever temptation you may be facing right now, let your goal be to bring glory to God – take the thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthian 10: 4-5). Praise him for every success; ask his forgiveness and healing for every failure – God who calls you is faithful and he is always willing to forgive, heal and strengthen every child of his.
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance’ - James 1:2
Let this time of temptation draw you closer to God and lead your character on to greater maturity.
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