I lose the battle with temptation in my mind first.
When I dwell on what tempts me, I’ve lost, again.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NASB)
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:14-18 (NLT)
So, my dear friends flee from the worship of idols. You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am about to say is true. When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the benefits of the blood of Christ? And when we break the loaf of bread, aren’t we sharing in the benefits of the body of Christ? And we all eat from one loaf, showing that we are one body. And think about the nation of Israel; all who eat the sacrifices are united by that act.
One of the areas that confuse us as Christians is the difference between our temptations and testing that is of God. The benefits of the blood are our direction for understanding this. Our temptations, whether from our own flesh, the world we live in or from the devil, always have to do with the freedoms Jesus has restored to us through His blood sacrifice. Our God does not test us in the freedoms Jesus has restored to us. He already knows we are no longer held captive and doesn’t need to test what He has done for us.
Our testing always has to do with the heart, nature and character of our God. We are learning how to handle our life circumstances not reacting to them, but responding with our attitude, behavior and choices reflecting our God more and more. God is teaching us how to live life to the fullest, being the best He has made us to be, working to the surface what He has done on the inside with His on the job training program. We are replacing the false truths and deceptions that have been the drivers for our past choices.
When Satan is attacking us through temptations he is not attacking us directly. He is attacking the holiness of God in us. This is what he cannot stand and tries to get us to defeat ourselves through our lack of knowledge for what Jesus has done for us. This is why when we become active for God, walking in the righteousness Jesus gives us and not our own, we come under attack. This is not God testing us. This is the devil trying to get us to doubt our God that Jesus did not do what the Word of God says He did.
The devil is consistent in how he does this. First, he attacks our understanding of God’s Word; did God really mean what He said...? In doing this he is attempting misdirection and getting us to look to our own knowledge and reasoning instead of maintaining the intimacy of our relationship and asking our God for clarity. Secondly, he attacks our character through others. This is where Jesus example serves us so well. Jesus was disconnected from what others thought of Him even though He was actively involved in the culture around Him. He always maintained intimacy with the Father, living to please and honor Him in thought, word and deed.
We cannot control the thoughts that enter our mind. We can control the thoughts we capture to dwell on and meditate on. When we do this, we improve with practice and the help of the Holy Spirit. We are improving our understanding of our God growing in our ability to connect our knowledge of God’s Word with His heart.
When the Word of God is separated from the heart of God we no longer have God’s complete truth. This is where the enemy has been so effective within the body of Christ. We all know well intentioned Christians who have wielded the Word of God as a sword against us, a half-truth, without applying the heart of God in their understanding, giving us their interpretation of God’s truth for His children.
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened for us through the sacred curtain, by means of His death for us.
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting Him; for our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we have, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.
We can trust our God and His goodness to help us grow and mature into sons and daughters that honor our Perfect Father. We will grow in patience and the quality of our character, becoming more and more faithful and trustworthy, reflecting the heart and nature of our God who is a faithful and true King.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to me…?
How does today’s message apply to my life?…my beliefs?