This here is some stuff the Spirit showed me last night when I was dealing with an issue of temptation. I’m just going to give the Scripture references, and I recommend you read them the moment you come to them. Then read on. And if you feel like it, you can compare what I say to the Scriptures as you read along. For those of you to lazy to go get your Bible, the Scripture references are clickable. Just right click and open in a new window/tab and read along! This devo here is also dedicated to a friend of mine who is struggling with a like temptation…
James 1:15, NIV
Sin and temptation result from the desire in you for it. One person may not be an alcoholic, despite constant exposure to it and plenty of opportunity. He has no desire. But he may go out of his way to look at porn, because the desire is there. (And, no, neither of those are the temptation I deal with.) The desire lures you and and then you allow it to become sin. You allow it. And a sinful life results in death.
I Corinthians 10:13, NIV
While temptation is not sin, it can lead to it. But there is no temptation that cannot be resisted, and God will provide that way out. He will not lead you to fall, nor leave you to fail.
Matthew 4:1-11, NIV
Jesus is always our best example. He was weakest in His hunger and exhaustion, and that is when satan made his move. The tactic Jesus used was one that works: Scripture. But He didn’t just mindlessly vomit up some randomly memorized passage that just so happened to be relevant to the situation. No, He claimed the passage as truth, as God’s Word, as something He firmly believed and was determined to follow. He was faithful to God.
Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV
It is a great comfort to know that, despite our humanness and imperfection, the very One Who came to save us was tempted and given the opportunity to give up His mission (check out His “Not My will but Your will” prayer: Matthew 26:38-40, NIV). Yet, He had victory over it. And, with Him living in us, we have that ability, that power to draw on. We don’t have to sin! He sympathizes and empathizes with us and we can be spotless! All we need to do is come to Him, confident of the help we will receive, and ask!
James 4:2-10, NIV
But, so often, we don’t ask. Or, if we do, it’s with wrong motives (to look/feel good, for others’ sake, or for any other reason than wanting to please God and build our relationship with Christ). And either of those result in not receiving! In addition, we often align ourselves with worldly things, asking for and claiming to want deliverance, but not really wanting to give up our vices. (Think: you may lie in bed crying tears and imploring God to save you…but are you also still wanting to hold on to your sin? I know I’ve done that.) But, if we bow humbly before our King, resist satan and repent, God will bring us back into good standing: forgiven.
James 4:11-12, NIV
As a parting thought, let me make two more points. First, just because you’ve had victory over a particular sin (or any sin for that matter), that does not give you permission to gloat over and look down on people who are still wallowing in the mud. We are to build each other up (Eph. 4:29, NIV), not tear each other down (I Pet. 3:9, NIV). Follow the Law of Love, not of Hate and Pride.
Second, if you do fail, don’t beat yourself up. That’s the road to only more failure. Instead, humble yourself, admit you did wrong, and repent to God (I Jn. 1:8-9). Then ask Him to give you strength to follow Him next time. Don’t expect an immediate victory over your problem: while it happens to people from time to time, most often, recovery is a process, not a moment.