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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Resisting Temptation ( part 2)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

      I have been trying to be careful about using the word "love" in my everyday conversation.  This is one of those instances where our language fails us at times, or at least does not really convey the exact meaning of what we are trying to say.  If I say that I love chocolate, people will understand the inference of my statement-- I really enjoy eating chocolate.  "Love" is one of those words that we casually toss around because we have attached so many inferences to the word that the word has become diluted.  There are many different types of love and love comes in many shades.  Perhaps we should come up with other words to describe the degree of the love of which we speak.

       Our true love should not be of this world, but focused on an eternity spent in the presence of God, our Father, the Creator of all things.  This love of which I speak is in some ways so big, so complex, that it is beyond our understanding.  This love is the absolute adoration and the total reverence to the Living God.  We become closer to understanding this love through prayer, studying God's Word, and meditation.  God loves us and we are to love Him with all that we have within us.

       We are in this world so we go along with it with the understanding that this is just a temporary state of things.  This world will all pass away and nothing that we owned or accomplished will matter any more.  Only our relationship with God will matter. We should care about our families and love others because God has commanded this.  But when we love others more than we love God or when the things of this world become our obsession, then our love for God becomes diluted and we are diverted from loving him.  An inappropriate love for the things of this world will cause us to lose sight of the only true love that matters and then we become weakened and susceptible to temptation.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:8-11 (NIV)

         We are all tempted.  Followers of Christ must resist that temptation because the devil wants to fall into his traps.  All followers are tempted and must encourage one another and provide support.  This is why being a part of a body of believers is important.  It is not the structured religion that matters, but the support that the body of believers can give to its members.  It is important to find a body that believes in Bible teachings, to serve in that body, and be nutured.  Your brothers and sisters in Christ will help keep you accountable, and the Holy Spirit will strengthen you to resist temptation.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

         You are not the only one experiencing the temptations you may be facing.  Humans have been facing similar temptations for centuries and you are in the company of many others now.  There is strength in numbers and that is why being a part of a body of like minded individuals can be so important.  Whether it be a support group or just having a mature accountability partner, it is good to have someone to help you resist your temptations.  Prayer is also vital.  If you are battling with temptation, then become a prayer warrior so you can win the fight with God on your side.  Satan can defeat you if you let him, but Satan cannot defeat God.  With God on your side you are invincible.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

        If you know the specific temptations that weaken you, then find some specific Bible verses that address those temptations and how to overcome them.  Memorize those verses and hide them in your heart as your secret weapon.  When temptation confronts you, take out the sword of God's word and cut that temptation down.  You have the resources to empower yourself against sin.   God provides everything you need--it's up to you to use it.

11 comments:

  1. Another thought provoking post which gets the grey matter working.
    It's true we do use the word"Love" for many other reasons than the one intented.Resisting temptation needs willpower, many people have willpower others sadly not.

    Have a peaceful Sunday.
    Yvonne.

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  2. Temptations aren't always vices or physical items, either. Mine comes in the form of annoyance and a lack of patience with others.

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  3. You are so right - I LOVE a lot of things - chocolate, the movie "Spitfire Grill", my puppies. As I throw the L word around now, I will be reminded of your post. The temptation part of your post is a challenge - personal. I do not have an accountability partner and now I see how important that would be.

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  4. I think this is at least one reason or example of why the New Testament was written in Greek, with a smidgen of Aramaic. Greek is a extremely precise language. If all believers were to utilize it then 99% of Christianity would be on the same page.

    The trouble is that English is not a very precise language and therfore if we take absolute interpretation from English in every instance, we can and do err.

    For example; the Greek language as certainly are aware has 4 words for love.

    agapn - a sacrificial, giving with not expectation of return, selfless love

    phileo - a friendship, loyalty to friends, a warm and famliar expression toward friends

    eros - passionate, sensual desire and longing, it does not have to be sexual, though most times it is, it can be applied to someone you love more than a freind

    storge - sense and of belonging and affection related to parents for their children, it is a description of relationships within the family

    When we only have one word and we use for everything it is difficult.

    So, good job on this post. James speaks of temptation always originatging in our own inward desires, passions, or lusts. Outward circumstances might inflame those inward desirse, but make no mistake temptation comes when our desires attempt to lure or entice us to satisfy those desires in violation of the standards of God that govern any of those areas.

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  5. Greg said what I was going to say, the English language is so inadequate when it comes to translating the Bible's use of the word 'love,' as there are several different Greek words all translated as love. So we have to use the context to know which type of love we are talking about.

    Great verses about temptation too. And another strategy in dealing with it is as Joseph illustrated in Potiphar's household - he fled the environment that contained the temptation.

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  6. Inspirational. Love the part about prayer...so true.

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  7. Thank you for reading and contemplating upon today's post. My thanks to those who made the additional helpful observations-- your input and guidance is always appreciated.

    Lee

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  8. This is a really important post. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. Scrolling through your blog entries, this post is the one that hooked me. We do have the resources we need to overcome temptation. God did provide these resources for us. Your response to Biblical scriptures is so lucid, so relevant. Thank you.

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