Thursday, May 16, 2024

        There are a few challenges that we all commonly share.  One such challenge is temptation.  Bill Thrasher has written that, “temptation is a common experience for everyone (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).  It is a deceitful invitation to fulfill a legitimate need in a destructive way.”  It is not a sin to be tempted to do something wrong or evil.  We can remember that Jesus Himself was tempted.  But yielding to evil temptation is sinful.  We can think of it in this way.  Imagine holding a cup of poison in your hand.  The poison in the cup is not going to harm you.  But if you drink the poison, then you are at grave risk of becoming sick or even dying.  Temptation becomes a sin only when we drink it, yield to it and welcome into our lives whatever it may be offering.  The passage in 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches us, “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.”  A few truths stand out for us to see.
            First, we are not immune from temptation.  The enemy will attempt to deceive and mislead us into sinful behavior.  He has always been determined to rob God of His glory by drawing men and women away from the Lord.  Satan desires a following and an army of loyalty and devotion.  He attempts to gain this by offering us something that we might inherently desire or want for ourselves.  So, we can know every day that a potential battle awaits as the enemy tempts us.
            Second, God is faithful to us.  He will provide the relief and help we need to withstand temptation.  It is never God’s will for us to sin.  And sinful leanings never come from the Lord.  He will always lead us to what is good, righteous and true.  God never permits the enemy to tempt us beyond what we can bear or resist with the Lord’s help and power.  There is no such thing as a super-temptation or a nuclear-temptation that we are powerless to resist or reject.  God always grants us a way forward and a way that leads to Him and not the enemy.
            Third, God provides a way for us to escape temptation.  One way is by seeking the Lord more earnestly and eagerly whenever we are tempted to sin.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Let the Lord be the One who fills you and blesses you.  Bill Thrasher suggests that we attach a prayer request to any temptation that we experience so that whenever this temptation comes to us, we will resist it by reallocating our time and efforts to praying for that request rather than submitting to the temptation.  In his book How To Resurrect A Dead Prayer Life, Thrasher wrote, “Let me encourage you to take out a sheet of paper and write down the temptation.  Afterward, ask God to give you a prayer burden that every time you are tempted in this way, you will be prompted to pray this prayer request.  Let it be a prayer request that will damage Satan’s kingdom as God answers this prayer.”  This approach to dealing with temptation allows us to fight back against the powers of darkness and evil by turning temptation into an offensive attack against the enemy and his wicked territory and schemes.  Thrasher even suggests that when we are facing a temptation, we could develop the habit of praying for a missionary, a nation or a community to be transformed by the gospel message.  We can, with God’s help and Word, gain victory over temptation and the ways that Satan would like to mislead and misdirect us.  We can turn temptations from the evil one into occasions to pray for missions, the advance of the gospel and special people we know, value and love.  Take Thrasher’s advice to heart and see just how many battles that you are able to win with God’s grace and power at work in you. 
            This coming Sunday will be a special time with our youth leading in worship and our recognition of our high school and college graduates.  Join us for the graduate coffee at 9:00am, Bible study at 9:45am and worship at 10:55am.  We will honor our graduates at our monthly communal lunch after worship.  Bring along some food to share as we enjoy fellowship and celebrating the milestones of our graduating seniors.  Have a great Thursday!

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