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We have been sharing excerpts from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” This book is a perfect book to give as a gift right now. Easter is only a couple of weeks away.
This book reaches out to those who may suffer from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects.
The book is on sale right now, so check it out by clicking on the “Bookstore,” tab above.
Today’s excerpt talks about how we as new Christians will face many temptations. It guides us through the process of how to remain strong.
Every Temptation Is an Opportunity to Trust God
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
When someone becomes a Christian, Satan starts working overtime to try to pull that person away from God. He hates it that one more person has accepted the love of God into their lives. He will do whatever he can to turn the new Christian around, and head him or her back into sin.
We have so much fun each day just trying to make it through the day fighting off temptations. I mean this as a challenge and not as a joke. We face temptations constantly to do what God would not want us to do. He allows a different close encounter to approach us in the form of many temptations going through our mind every day. It could be something small like telling an off-color joke to others in an effort to fit in, or something more serious like deciding to take home a business camera that no one will miss.
Being tempted is part of being human. God does not protect us from temptation. He allows it into our lives so we can learn to depend on Him. The verse above promises that He “will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” It is our chance to build on solid ground for our eternal blessings. We are never free of temptations. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a Christian—Satan will tempt us. When we fall for the temptation, it’s because we have turned our back on the “way out” God has promised.
Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was offered a great deal of power in the world. He was given a chance to be king over all the kings. He was offered all the land He could see in all directions from the high place He was standing. He was tempted in every way you could think possible. This man called Jesus, who is the embodiment of how we should live on this earth, turned His back on all of the temptations! The way of escape for Him was falling back on the promises of God from Scripture.
We have the same power to not be caught by temptation by calling to mind God’s promises to us.
We face temptations every day. (I am a sucker for Snickers candy bars, every time I see one in the store.) We need to concentrate on doing what is right each time we face a temptation. There is a very simple way to approach each and every temptation we face. Just ask, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” I mean, we can really ask that question each and every time we are tempted.
Example: Guys, a female friend asks you to help her put up a fence. About halfway through, she invites you into the house for something to drink. When you get inside, you see by what she’s wearing that she has other intentions. She comes close to you, and says that it would be OK to have a little fun. “No one will know,” she promises. What would Jesus do?
There is one thing you should do right away. You should run out of there like Joseph ran from the wife of Potiphar. You should run like you are being chased by a rabid dog looking for someone to bite.
Potiphar’s wife had tried for several days to get Joseph to sleep with her, and he refused. Then when he was close, and no one was around, she grabbed his cloak and ordered him to sleep with her. He broke loose and ran out of the house. He resisted temptation even though Potiphar’s wife tried so hard to seduce him.
Why did he run? Why should you run? It didn’t turn out well for Joseph. Potiphar’s wife became angry because he wouldn’t sleep with her. She accused Joseph of trying to seduce her. Even though he hadn’t touched her, Potiphar put him in prison for several years. Not a good situation for a young man that did everything he could to please God.
But there is a happy ending to the story of Joseph. In Genesis 39–50 we see how God brought Joseph through temptation and made him instrumental in His plan for the nation of Israel, giving him a place of prominence Joseph never could have dreamed would be his. It is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible and I often wonder if the story would have ended as it did had Joseph not taken the “way out” God provided. Probably not.
Sometimes the “way out” may be simply walking away from temptation. Other times we may have to run as fast as we can.
As a child, I used to go to a movie in the downtown area of Salem, Oregon. It was within walking distance of my home. It was all right going to the movie, because it was still light. But on the way home it was very dark, and bushes lined the sidewalk where I had to walk. I knew there was a monster in those bushes and he was ready to grab me! I think I set some kind of record as I ran by those bushes. I was not about to be caught be some evil demon. I stayed in the middle of the street so a monster couldn’t grab me from either side.
All of us have monsters—real or imagined—in the bushes. Temptations are the real ones that we all face at some time in life. What is important is that each and every time we are faced with some kind of temptation, we ask, “What would Jesus do? What is the ‘way out’ He is providing me?”
[God’s grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Think before you leap! Always be on alert. Think of life as a war between God and Satan. You are on the good guy’s side. You need to be careful of the attacks from the guy on the other side. He will do whatever he can to destroy you. He will try to convince you that what you are doing is OK just this one time. No one will know. Stop! That is not the good guy talking. That is the enemy! Trust God, and God only. Everything else is the enemy.
Something to Ponder
Isn’t it funny how some of us never hear the music before the song is over?