PJ’s Daily Devotional for Thursday, March 23, 2017.
Do you struggle with resisting temptation?
Of course, we all do! Let’s get real and talk about temptation; what it is and what it isn’t!
Temptation is not sin, but temptation is the doorway to sin! In fact, for many it is a revolving door. That is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
Temptation can feel like it is too strong to stand against; almost like I feel or think this thought or desire is so powerfully, that it must be true. Have you ever experienced that overwhelming urge to go and do that which you know is not right or faithful? I have!
I have tasted of the revolving door of temptation because I could only resist the thought or desire so long before I gave in to whatever it was that I was struggling with. My struggle doesn’t have to be your struggle and your struggle doesn’t have to be mine for us to have common ground in this cycle of temptation and sin; for us to relate to one another; for us to share in the human experience.
But does relapse have to happen? Do we have to give in to the power of temptation? Is there a power greater than our temptation?
Yes, the Apostle Paul gives us this triumphant truth, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
What truth are the Scriptures trying to get through our thick skulls?
It is God who is faithful in the face of temptation, not you or me! In Galatians 3:3, Paul cuts to the chase: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Just like our salvation is a work of God’s grace, so our ongoing purity and ability to resist temptation is a work of the Spirit; not of the flesh!
It is the promise of Immanuel: “God is with us!” God is the faithful one! Praise God one of us is!
That is an important truth; it humbles us and keeps us honest about our ability to be righteous on our own, by our own will or works. As Paul says in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
It’s a scandalous reality of the Christian life, that it is Jesus who is the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). There is no other power source; there is only One! The One is God’s Son Jesus Christ; the One who is supreme over all creation; the One who is greater than the angels; the One who has defeated death and sin! Don’t tap into any other power source other than Jesus Christ; only He is right and faithful in all that He does.
It is foolish to think that you can defeat the flesh with the flesh or win the battlefield of the mind with the mind.
I conclude with a passage from today’s Bible Reading: “For because [Jesus] himself suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Call upon Jesus in your life. In times of temptation, Jesus will help you; He is the way of victory in your life!