|A 30-DAY GUIDE FOR NEW BELIEVERS
by JOHN D. BECKETT
|Why do I keep having these thoughts?
We need to be aware of a tenacious and destructive force at work in the life of the believer. It is called “temptation” — the continuing effect and downward pull of our former life and habits. The end game of temptation is always the same, to keep us from a close walk with the Lord. Temptation is never fatal. But yielding to it can set us back and cause much discouragement.
Some mistakenly believe that Christians are immune to evil thoughts and behaviors — that some kind of protective shield drops over us to keep us from being lured away. That may be a happy notion, but it’s not reality. In fact, I have noticed that as a person moves ahead with the Lord, temptations often intensify. The believer is, after all, of great value to the Lord and therefore a target for our adversary, who hates anything God loves. Peter refers to us as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9). Credentials like these increase Satan’s obsession to pull us down and separate us from the Lord.
I find I have to guard myself diligently, especially in three areas of temptation identified by the Apostle John. He cautions, “All that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life — is not of the Father, but of the world” (1 John 2:16).
No matter how much we battle temptation, we can thank the Lord that He is our way to victory. He is uniquely qualified, for He, the God/man, successfully overcame all that tempted Him and is able to help us as we’re tempted: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Peter echoes this assurance: “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9). Paul adds: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Let’s look at how temptation might arise in your life and how you can respond. Suppose you are traveling and have booked into a hotel. You are tired at the end of a long day and you turn on the TV to relax. As you are channel surfing, you land on a station that portrays blatant nudity (or something else you know is inappropriate). You linger there, and before long you are absorbed in what you are watching. You think, “No one’s around. What could it matter?” But the next morning you feel dirty. Images play across your mind. You can’t shake them. You find it hard to pray. God seems more distant.
How might this confrontation against your mind and spirit be dealt with at various points? Prevention: To avoid randomly landing on a tainted channel, prescreen the channels using the directory found in most rooms. Or decide you have better things to do, and don’t turn on the TV at all. Protection: If you land on a channel with questionable programming, call out to the Lord immediately. Ask Him to help you. If you know what you’re watching is offensive to Him, click out of it and don’t go back. Ask Him to wash away any of the lingering images. Repentance and Restoration: If you do get dragged in and are facing the “morning after,” talk with the Lord openly and honestly, no matter how much you don’t “feel” like it. Confess that wrong you’ve done, ask for forgiveness and receive His restoring love. Learn the lesson and don’t repeat it.
|Key Scripture||God is faithful … to make a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).|
|Key Thought||Temptation is inevitable. Whether I resist or yield is voluntary.|
|Copyright © 2006 by John D. Beckett|
Temptations and trials will always come upon us – but always remember that He will make sure that we will never be tempted to far, to something that we cannot handle; and there will always be a way out. We just need to stay close to Him, stay in His Word, so that we’re able to see the way out.