The best of us, the most kind and Godly among us, get discouraged and frustrated at times. Just because we become followers of Christ doesn't mean we don't still have temptations and trials in our life.
What are temptations and are they from God? Are they the same as trials? What is the difference? These are a few questions I will explore over the next few days.
The question asked most is, WHY DOES GOD TEMPT US? God doesn't tempt us, the Bible is clear on that (James 1:13), but God does allow us to make the choice of giving into temptations which might fall into our path.
This great elixir called temptation has a sweet taste, for a time. We must look past the momentary "reward" and look at the long term gains. How does the temptation affect our lives, and the lives of whom we love for the long haul? I bet, if you're honest, the long term outlook is pretty dismal.
Temptations are not of God. Temptations are, as shown in James 1:14, from ourselves.
Temptations, I think, are likened unto lusts or desires, something of us not God. Now some desires are good and godly, so don't confuse desire that is good with desires that lead you to sin. Desiring our spouse is good, desiring to quench a thirst is good, desiring to rob a bank is bad. Having the desire in and of itself isn't bad, the act of acting upon the desire is where the trouble comes in, if that desire is not godly or just.
Some things one might classify as a temptation are:
- Fornication with someone other than your spouse
- Money, the love of money to be more precise.
- Material goods.
- Lusting after what someone else has, i.e., wanting, with single minded absorption, what someone else has rather than looking at what you have been blessed with.
- can you name some more? How about gluttony? The list could go on really.
I read a story recently, called the Bird of Temptation. Here it is:
When the “bird of temptation” lands on your head, you have two choices.Youcan“shoo" it away immediately, or you can allow it to linger for awhile. If you allow the “bird of temptation” to linger, eventually it will build a nest. If you don’t remove the nest, the bird will lay eggs that will soon give birth to more “birds of temptation.” Eventually, you will have a full scale family of temptation on your head, raising havoc and dropping all kinds of garbage in your face. Before you know it, you’re in “over your head” so to speak. If you’re not alert, these temptations will come back year after year to roost,making it extremely difficult to free yourself from the resulting sin, once it has established its nest in your life.
That's true. If we allow temptation to get a grip on our hearts, we suffer, greatly. I know this to be true. We all have our weak points, the spots where our armor is rusty or dinged and weakened.
Let me add a caveat here: We are all grown ups here, and I hope things we might discuss now and in the future wont offend you. That is not my intention. I only wish to encourage you.
One way to test a temptation is by asking yourself would you be embarrassed by it? If caught, would you play the BLAME GAME? I am guilty. I admit it. I am guilty of giving into a variety of temptations and then trying to revert back to the ageless game of blaming or finding excuses. I say ageless because this game can be traced back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit (we can argue what it was but that would be like arguing if Adam had a belly button or not) the blame game commenced. Genesis 3:12-13:
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
|From Tales From a Mother|
Desiring our spouse, and wanting to please each other is not bad (too many people think that Christians can't possibly want to have sex for the pure enjoyment of it and pleasing their partner, this is not a godly assumption on their part. It is normal and natural to desire your spouse).
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Temptation is something we will all encounter. It doesn't mean we are bad, just as it doesn't mean we are bad or unloved if we encounter other trails like sickness, loss, etc. But acting on the temptation is where the spiral begins.
The 4 D's of sin. Desire (ungodly desire), deceit, disobedience, and death (spiritual death)--A lady in my Bible class came up with this idea for remembering the life cycle of sin.
A desire, like robbing a bank or smacking your sister-in-law in the face presents its self. The side that says "its ok, one little smack wont hurt" or 'No one will ever miss the money" pops up. Ok, having that desire and even thinking about the deceit isn't where the falling for the temptation happens. the deceit comes from telling yourself, "oh it'll be just fine..... Everyone does it...... You deserve it!...." Of course if you to the deceit without pause from desire, it might be hard to stop the whirlpool affect from happening. Tread slowly, weigh what is before you.
When you act upon the desire that isn't godly you fall into disobedience, i.e., smacking your sister-in-law or robbing the bank, eating the forbidden fruit... If you continue on in disobedience, i.e., not ask with a truly repentant heart, then the ultimate consequence is death, or removal from God. You also have some earthly consequences as well. You will go to jail and end up rooming with some burly guy in cell block D, or your sister-in-law has secretly been taking judo and your back gets broken as she flips you over her head..... Yep, it's really a no win situation.
Think about what could happen before acting upon a temptation, it will save you.
To be continued.....(Next trials and hard times).