[James 4:17]1 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
[1 John 3:4] Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.
Knowing what sin is, we can now talk about temptation―and the “tempter”. Satan is the tempter and a perpetual enemy of God’s saints (meaning, all Christians). Satan tests God’s people within certain limits set by God himself. God allows this in order to teach us, grow our faith and test the “condition” of our heart.
Before we became a Christian, we were on Satan’s team, …really! We lived in sin that we were powerless to do anything about. But, then we came under the Holy Spirit’s conviction of our sin, and decided to listen to God’s call by seeking forgiveness for our sins and reconciliation to God―through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. And, when we did that, we moved from Satan’s team to Christ’s team, …forever.
Oh, did I mention that Satan is a sore loser. Well, he is. And, he hates God. And we are now positioned to be used as a pawn to attack God. God loves us; and if Satan can lead us into sin, and harden our heart, it grieves God. God does not stop loving us, but God cannot use us to further His Kingdom.
How does Satan use (miss-use) us? Well, how many ways are there to sin? Very often his first move is to get us to doubt our Salvation. How does Satan go about that? He will use temptation. He will tempt you to commit a sinful act (or acts). Any sin will do. And, unfortunately, because we are human and living in a broken society, we will sin. We all do. Then Satan goes to work on us whispering lies like, “…you aren’t really saved. After all, if you were you wouldn’t be sinning all the time.”
So, how does one go about fighting temptation? First, we must know that we are not alone.
[1 Corinthians 10:13] 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.
It works great, when we recognize and follow the way out that God has given us. But, unfortunately, we are human; and thus we don’t always take the path God has for us. As soon as we realize this, we must take immediate action(s). This is one of those times when, the best defense is a strong offense.
(1). God has made several tools available to us; and the first one is His love: God loves us unconditionally!
[Ephesians 1:4-5] Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
(2). Prayer: Talk to Jesus. Confess your sin, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for being not only your Savior; but also your best friend.
[Philippians. 4:6-7] Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
(3). The Holy Spirit: God lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit:
[John 4:26] But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative―that is, the Holy Spirit―he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
(4). The Holy Bible: The Bible is God’s story; and, His instruction book to us. From creation to the fall of man; from the establishment of the Jewish nation to it’s dispersion; from the first appearance of the Messiah to His death and resurrection. From the start of God’s Church to prophecies of Messiah’s second coming and the End Times—it’s all in there. Stories of kings and paupers; heroes, murders, thieves, and prostitutes; history and prophecy—it’s all in there, too. The answers to our questions and problems are also in the Bible. Read it daily. If you are new to all this, start with the book of Mark, and then read Romans.
[2 Timothy 3:16] All scripture is inspired by God, and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
(5). God is faithful:
[1 John 1:9] But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
[Philippians 1:6] And I am sure that God, who began a good work within you, will continue this work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
We don’t want to forget to give God the glory for our Salvation and Restoration; and, for teaching us a lesson or lessons while growing our faith. And finally, remember this: our decisions and actions have consequences. We don’t have the option of choosing the consequences for our sin. But, Jesus will be at our side as we work them out.
Abba Father, I praise you, and stand in awe of your creation and the continuing story—of which I am only an infinitesimal part. But, Father, I know I’m not infinitesimal to you. You proved that, when you sacrificed your son for my transgressions. From before time began you knew me; and, despite my wicked ways, you marked me for redemption and restoration. What love!
Father, I wish I could live a sinless life. I want to. But, far too often, I fail! And, while I deserve nothing, you have given me your Son. Jesus has always been there for me; and will always be there, to pick, me up, wash my sin away, and send me back into the battle. I humble myself before you, Lord!
I ask only that you show me your ways; guide me in your truth, and teach me.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
1. All scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.