What the Bible says about temptation…
by Pastor William Mark Bristow
The other day I read something written years ago. The statement was something like this, “A victorious Christian life may still be a tempted life.” I had never thought about it in just that way. Somehow in my mind I had the idea that ALL temptation (all desire for anything wrong) would be completely done away with at some point in my Christian walk.
Of course, I know the scripture, Hebrews 4:15: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted. We read of those temptations in Luke Chapter 4. Those temptations were real. Jesus felt the pangs of desire for power and glory when Satan made an offer with the stipulation that Jesus worship him — or else those temptations were a farce. But He was tempted, yet without sin.
So often I have prayed for someone to be set free from the bondage of alcoholism, drugs, and other things that wreak havoc in lives. Once freed from the control by the power of God, they feel something is terribly wrong because they find themselves still tempted again at times in the same area. More than once I have heard, “I must not be set free. Something still has hold of me.”
Temptation comes when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). Satan can also tempt as we notice in Luke Chapter 4. There is something we must realize. As long as you and I are in this physical body we are going to be tempted. Realize there is no sin in being tempted. Realize you and I do not have to YIELD to temptation in any way. Remember sin is a choice. (Let’s be honest. I’m a human being and I’ve sinned before. I know how this thing works.) I have a choice. If I’m tempted to do something wrong, I can choose to do right and God will empower me to keep that choice, or I can choose the wrong and Satan will eventually enslave me again.
If Satan tempts, we are told to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Submission to God is an attitude of the heart shown by obedience to His Word. Resist means to refuse to cooperate with the devil. If the temptation comes out of our own lust the scripture instructs us, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”(Galatians 5:16). To walk in the Spirit means to live in prayer and in the Word of God. Really this is not much different than walking with a friend. You become friends with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. God loved us so much He provided for victory. He provided for victory even if we have a failure and yield to temptation.
1 John 2:1: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You and I need not live in defeat. The Apostle Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Mark Bristow and his wife, Lisa pastor a church in Monahans, Texas called Grace Fellowship. He is an anointed servant of God who is blessed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in his ministry. He is also multi-talented in a music ministry of leading in praise and worship vocally as well as on the organ and piano. Mark Bristow can be contacted via email.
Selling Out For the Desire of the Moment
By Betty Miller
Little Compromises That Cause Big Problems
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometimes in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
Many people could give testimony as to how they have regretted giving in to their desires of the moment, as a few moments of pleasure resulted in a life time of regret. The teenage girl who engaged in premarital sex and became pregnant, later lives with the shame and responsibility of her moment of passion. The young man who tried out drugs for the first time and was caught and jailed for possession of illegal narcotics. The married man or woman who cheated on their mate in a one night fling and ended up losing their marriage over that “one time.” These are just a few examples of how seemingly small things can cause enormous consequences. These “little foxes” brought destruction to the entire vine and lives are forever changed because of a one time mistake.
The Lord warns us in the Word of God to flee from these kinds of temptations. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
The Lord would have us call on Him when we are faced with temptation so that we don’t sell out to the enemy. He wants to help us so that we do not have to face the problems created by our sin. Even if we fail, God will help us get up and go on and can turn what Satan meant for evil into good. However, it is better that we do not fall into the pit to begin with as we will be spared much suffering and sorrow.
God certainly will forgive our sins and cleanse us from our guilt and shame. However, we must walk through the consequences of our sins. Some consequences are greater than others. There is an example of this in the Bible. It is the story of Esau selling his birthright for a little food:
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint’: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, ‘Sell me this day thy birthright.’ And Esau said, ‘Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?’ And Jacob said, ‘Swear to me this day’; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 2529-34
Esau was the oldest son and the father’s inheritance went to the first born as his birthright. Jacob was the younger brother but he understood the value of the birthright better than the one to whom it belonged. In those days whatever a man agreed to with his lips was done. For a little bowl of lentil soup, Esau lost his birthright. He was then rejected because he thought so little of his inheritance. Many today are selling out their Christian birthright for a little “pottage of flesh” when God has so much better for them.
…for a piece of bread that man will transgress. Proverbs 28:21b
Sometimes it is the “little foxes” that bring a man down. The seemingly little things can defile us. As Christians we must be careful, not careless so we do not lose our inheritance in the Lord.
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Hebrews 12:16-17
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Title: What the Bible says about temptation
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