Browsing the archives for the overcoming temptation tag.


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Matthew 17-18: Jesus On Tempting and Being Tempted

Christian Living, Matthew, Obedience, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, temptation

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Matthew 15-16: The First Key to Overcoming Sin

Growth, Matthew, morality, overcoming sin

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Acts 19-20: Cut it Off

Acts, Christian Living, overcoming sin, Sacrifice

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Matthew 3-4: God’s Way or the Easier Softer Way?

Christian Living, Crucified with Christ, God's Way, Matthew, Obedience, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, relying on God, Sacrifice, salvation, satan, sin, suffering, Surrender, temptation, Testing, trusting God, Victory in Jesus
Wordle of Matthew chapters three and four (Matthew 3-4) in the English Standard Version (ESV)

Matthew 3-4 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Matthew 3:1-4:25.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! for it is written, ” ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” ‘ ” (Matthew 4:8-10).

Don’t miss the real temptation. Satan is not tempting Jesus with kingship, rule, and power. According to Psalm 110:1-7, Jesus was already promised all this from His Father. He was going to rule all the kingdoms of the world anyway. The temptation was that God’s way to the throne was going to be hard. He had already had to leave heaven to accomplish it. He was going to spend 3 years wandering as an itinerant teacher. He was going to be rejected, mocked, ridiculed, and eventually crucified to get to rule. Satan essentially said, “Hey, why bother with all of that? Here is an easier, softer way. Just bow down and worship me once. Just once. You don’t have to do it for the rest of your life. If you just worship me here and now, you won’t have to take up that cross.” But Jesus refused. He chose God’s way, though it included the cross. And I’m so thankful, because God’s way allowed me to be saved. Satan’s way might have given Jesus rule of the world (though I’m convinced Satan is a liar and would have yanked it out from under Jesus instead of really giving Him the rule), but it would have kept me and you from being saved.

I’m so glad to see this. First, because it lets me know I’m not alone. Satan tempts me all the time. Sometimes I begin to think I’m the only one going through this pressure. But even Jesus went through it. Second, it lets me know how to defeat the temptation. Just rely on God, His Word, and His way. God’s way always works. Third, I’m glad to read it because it helps me really identify Satan’s temptations. I often overlook temptation and sin with a dismissive, “Oh, surely God wouldn’t have a problem with that.” What I need to look for is when my choices include God’s way and the easier softer way. Satan often promises me the very same thing God does. He simply says I don’t have pick up my cross to get the promise. I need to be able to say, “Not today, Satan. I’m going God’s way. It may be harder, but it works.”

Which way are you going today? God’s way or the easier softer way?

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Add your input by clicking the following link: Post a Comment.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

 

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I Corinthians 10-11: Don’t Stand; Lean

Christian Living, I Corinthians, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, relying on God, Surrender

I Corinthians 10-11 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:34.

“Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

“Oh, I’ll never do that.” “I can’t believe that so-and-so did such-and-such, I’d never do that.” “I used to have that problem. Now I’ve got it under control.” These are the words of those who think they stand. They are words that I’ve said far too often. Usually I’ve said them just before a colossal fall. It almost seems like Satan is just waiting around to hear these kinds of words so he can jump on the attack and prove us wrong.

The real problem here is not with standing. It is actually thinking we can stand on our own two legs. Not so. We must quit standing and instead lean on God. We will only overcome the tempter if we rely on God. Sadly, the world wants to tell us God is a crutch. When we hear that, we think it is a negative. The problem with the world is they desperately want to stand on their own. They think they can. Yet, they are falling. I need a crutch, not in the negative connotation of  the word. But, I need to recognize that I’m broken. If I try to stand without God as my crutch to lean on, I’m going to fall.

The moment I decide that I’ve healed enough and can stand on my own without the crutch of Christ’s cross to lean on, that is when I will crumble under the weight of sin again.

Today, I’m not going to stand. I’m going to lean.

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click the following link to add your input: Click Here.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Hebrews 1-2: Jesus Can Help When I’m Tempted

forgiveness, grace, Hebrews, Jesus, morality, Obedience, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, perseverance, relying on God, Victory in Jesus

Today’s reading is Hebrews 1:1-2:18.

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

For the longest time, I thought the help I needed from Jesus was forgiveness after I’ve already sinned. I do need that help, but that is not the help the Hebrew writer talks about. He says Jesus can help me when I am being tempted. I do not have to face the temptation fight alone and then turn to Jesus if I failed. Rather, when I’m in the temptation, I can turn to Jesus.

I can turn to Jesus by getting into His word. I can turn to Jesus through prayer. I can turn to Jesus by getting help from Jesus’ people. I can ask for strength. I can ask to find in Jesus whatever I’m looking for in the proffered temptation. I do not have to wait to receive God’s grace through Jesus after I’ve sinned, I can seek His grace to have the strength to overcome my sins.

I’m not facing temptation alone. I’m facing life with Jesus at my side.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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Romans 13-14: Putting on Jesus Christ

Christian Living, Crucified with Christ, Jesus, morality, Obedience, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, relying on God, righteousness, Romans, Walking with God

Today’s reading is Romans 13:1-14:23.

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:12-14).

I needed to read this today. Thank you, God, for the reminder. Some days are harder than others. Some days are fraught with temptation. Today is one of those days for me. I needed this reminder that my job today is not to make provision for the lusts of my flesh. Today, I need to put on Jesus Christ. I need to wear Him like clothing, like armor of light. I need to surrender the works of darkness that are tempting me to Him. I need to throw them away from me and just let Him guide me into the next right thing.

As Galatians 2:20 says, I need to let Jesus live in me today. I need to work on increasing my faith in Him today. I need to understand that pursuing orgies, drunkenness, immorality, sensuality, quarreling, jealousy, et al, will not draw me closer to God, but drive a wedge between us. These will not make me the man I want to be but will lead me further down a path of guilt, shame, and slavery.

Today, I’m going to wear Jesus.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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Romans 13-14: I Can’t Pack My Bags for Lust

Christian Living, Growth, Honesty, morality, Obedience, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, Powerlessness, Romans

packing by iversToday’s reading is Romans 13:1-14:23.

Paul gives me some very practical help today. I need to read Romans 13:14 every day. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Today, I must not make provision for the lusts of my flesh. Whenever I go on a trip, I have to make provision. I gas up the car. I pack some bags. I check maps. I print out directions. I run through the ATM. I pack snacks and purchase food. None of these things is the same as going on the trip. They are making provisions for the trip. 

Sometimes I make provisions for the lust of my flesh. Making those provisions is not the same as pursuing the lust of the flesh, but I’m preparing the way for it. I heard a great phrase to describe this. A friend of mine called it making “lust based decisions.” Making these decisions themselves may not be sinful. I can even justify making them because no one can prove they are wrong, but they are packing the bags and paving the way for sin.

Consider an alcoholic. Walking into a bar is not the same as drinking alcohol. I’m not sure anyone can actually prove that walking into a bar is wrong. Sitting at the bar when the restaurant is crowded is not the same as drinking alcohol. I’m not sure anyone can actually prove that sitting at the bar is a sin. But if I’m an alcoholic, what am I doing? I’m making lust based decisions. I’m packing my bags to drink. I’m making provision to sin. I must not be surprised when I actually do what I’ve committed not to.

Consider sexual lust. I’m thankful that alcohol has never been a problem for me, but lust has. I am learning to take God’s way of escape long before I get to the point of lust. I can’t walk down magazine aisles in grocery stores or book stores. I’m not saying that is a sin or that you can’t. I’m simply saying I’ve learned I can’t. For me, that is packing bags and providing to lust. That is a lust based decision because I know the magazines my eyes will find and what my mind will do with them. Is walking down that aisle the same as lusting? No. But for me it is providing for it. As much as I wanted to see it, I had to pass on watching the second Transformers movie. I had seen a trailer and learned very quickly that there was at least one scene that I simply couldn’t handle. Is it a sin to watch that movie? I doubt it. Can others watch it and not be bothered? I’m sure. But for me, going to that movie would have been packing my bags and making provision to lust. There are certain search terms I simply can’t put into Google images no matter how badly I need an illustration picture for a powerpoint presentation or blog post. There are certain streets I simply can’t drive down because I know the billboards that are there. I’ve learned I can’t drink coffee on the sidewalk of the downtown Starbucks in Franklin. You’d be amazed what some women wear down there. (I know some of you are saying, “Man, Edwin, you just need to buck up and get stronger.” I’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked for me. Instead, I’ve got to learn not to even pack those bags because I’m not strong enough to make provision for my lusts and then decide not to lust.)

What about other fleshly lusts? What about hanging around in conversations that have turned to gossip? What about going to lunch with those who slander the boss? What about continuing to listen in on conversations that belittle the church’s elders? What about listening to music or watching shows that increase wrath, vengeance, hate? 

Too many times I get caught up in arguments about drawing lines of what is actually a sin. I become convinced something is not a sin so I think I can pursue that, but eventually it leads me to sin and I wonder how it happened. The fact is, if I pack my bags to sin, if I study the map to sin, if I gas up my car for sin, if I make provision to sin, I’m probably going to sin. 

Today, I need to remember that half-measures will avail me nothing. I’m not trying to be good enough to get into heaven. I’m hungering and thirsting for righteousness and I don’t want to do anything that will turn me from that. So, for today, I’m going to put on Jesus Christ. I’m going to pave the way, pack my bags, and make provision to pursue faith in Him. That is part of why I’m doing this reading every day. I hope it is helping you as well.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

P.S. What struck you in today’s reading?

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Romans 7-8: Bear Fruit for God Today

Christian Living, Obedience, overcoming sin, salvation, sin

bearing fruit by jpellgenToday’s reading is Romans 7:1-8:39.

I hadn’t read 5 verses before I was given some direction for today. Paul said, “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).

Why did Jesus redeem me? Why did Jesus die for me? Why did Jesus save me? Not so I could carry on with life as usual. Not so I could sit on my thumbs in His name. Not so I could go to church every week. Not so I could keep on sinning but get forgiveness with a prayer every night. Jesus did all this so I could bear fruit for God. While living in the flesh, my sinful passions worked in my members to bear fruit for death (Romans 7:5). I must not continue in that.

I have two options today, submit myself to the slavery of sin again or submit myself to slavery to God. Today, I need to bear fruit for Him, not just sit on my thumbs thinking I’m saved just so I can lounge about.

I’ll put a question to you, what can I do to bear fruit for God today?

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

P.S. What struck you in today’s reading?

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Acts 11-12: God Will Set Me Free

Acts, Christian Living, Healing, Overcoming Satan, overcoming sin, relying on God

set free by Lel4ndToday’s reading is Acts 11:1-12:25.

I don’t have much to say today. However, I’m extremely motivated by the story of Peter’s release. I simply cannot help but learn from this if God could deliver Peter from the hands of Herod and the evil intent of the Jews against him, He can deliver me from Satan and sin. If God can unbind the shackles, walk past the guards, and open the gates for Peter as he walked out of the prison, the God can unbind my shackles of sin and guilt, march me past Satan, and open the gates to the kingdom of heaven for me.

Some days I find it hard to believe this. That is why I’m glad this story is here. It is a reminder to me that I serve a powerful God who in His time and in His way will set me free, providing me progressive victory over sin and Satan. Sometimes there are victories and I sit there like Peter saying, “Wow, I can now see how God delivered me.” It really is amazing to see God work in our lives, setting us free. 

No matter what you are facing today, rely on God. He is the only one who can set you free.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

P.S. What struck you in today’s reading?

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