I really wish my sermon had recorded so I could post the audio of it on here. I really liked this sermon. I am not preaching next week so there won’t be an update for 2 weeks. Unless I feel inspired to write something else. Either way feel free to leave a comment here with your thoughts.
What is temptation?
- Dictionary.com calls it “Something that is alluring to us.”
- Temptation is different from testing.
- Temptation is the cupcake while you are on a diet or the Victoria Secret commercials.
- These are not from God. God won’t use sin to test your faith.
- These come from your own lusts.
- If it is an invitation to do something you should not do it is a Temptation and it is not from God.
- Trials are those hard things God allows to happen to strengthen our resolve and mold us into the image of God.
- R.T. Kendall writes it this way:
- In trials we see God’s hand at work. In temptations we see our own hand at work.
- Temptation is inside of us. Trials are outside of us.
- Temptation tests our weak spots. Trials test our strengths.
With me so far?
Okay, so what about temptation?
First thing to know about temptation is that temptation is NOT a sin.
So often we think that being tempted is naughty or dirty. It isn’t. It is normal. You are a human being and advertisers tempt you with commercials all day. It is in giving in to that temptation we get ourselves in trouble.
Temptation is a big deal. It is so big that we pray every week not to get into temptation.
Jesus understands that temptation is a big deal. Throughout the Gospels Jesus talks about temptation 15 different times. He understands that people are tempted. In Matthew 4 Jesus himself was tempted.
We get tempted all the time.
We get tested in the weak places.
- What tempts us?
- Winning arguments
- Apple’s newest gadgets
I hate anchovies, I never get tempted with anchovies…if Satan were to show up and say “mmmm…..you can have these if you give me your soul.” I would laugh and laugh.
If Satan shows up with a brand new iPhone we might have an issue.
We don’t get tempted in the places we are strong. We are tempted in the places we are weak.
So what do we do when we are tempted with one of the things on our list?
First is an understanding of scripture.
Way out of temptation?
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
- When tempted
- Know that you are not alone.
- You are never the only one who has ever struggled with your struggle.
- Know what scripture says
- God is faithful. God is with you in the midst of your temptation.
- God has given you a way out.
- Know your triggers.
- If you are only tempted to over eat when you go out to eat, don’t go out to eat.
- If you are tempted to win an argument at all costs, don’t get into the argument.
- If you are tempted with lust when watching TV, get rid of the TV.
- You are more likely to give in to temptation when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
- Fix those things and you will be less likely to give in.
- Eat regularly, avoid conflict, get a good night sleep, be around people.
- Get an accountability partner
- A friend, preferably of the same gender, who can ask you the hard questions.
- I have one, another pastor, he is the person who can ask me the hardest questions about life, my family, and dealing with temptations.
- it is a true deterrent to sin knowing that I will have to look my friend in the eye and say what I did.
It is all well and good to talk about how to avoid giving in to temptation but it still happens. For me, I have a huge temptation. It is a temptation I couldn’t even put on this table, but I will show you. (Girl Scout cookies)
I am trying to lose weight and be healthier. I need to do it but then these little green boxes of thin mints show up. They sit in my cabinet and I can hear them mocking me, begging me to eat them and you know what….after I eat them I feel neither thin nor minty.
but it brings the question, what do you do when you fail, trip up, or give in to that temptation?
When you give in.
- It hurts
- You feel like a failure
- You feel like you may never stop.
- You may even feel like Paul in Romans 7:18-21
- We may even feel that we can never stop.
but when you give in, trip up, stumble, fall, and just boldly go and do whatever is tempting you then check out Philippians 1:6
- God, who began a good work in you will stay with you and complete that job.
- God didn’t abandon you because you gave in to temptation.
- When you gave in to temptation you did not end your usefulness to God.
- Judas’ fatal mistake is that he believed that when he gave in to the temptation of money he was no longer useful to God.
- God is still with you. God is still forming you into His image.
- God didn’t want you to do it but God still loves you.
- Stop doing it, work on not doing it again.
- It is possible to overcome your temptations.
- Maybe that means you need outside help in the terms of a therapist or AA or NA or professional in patient therapy. But it is possible.
- Do whatever it takes.
- One author who writes about sexual temptation says that whenever he stays in a hotel by himself he takes the TV out of his room and takes it to the front desk so he can’t watch anything he shouldn’t.
- toss the computer
- get new friends
- Cancel the movie channels
- cut up the credit cards
- Jesus says you do whatever it takes to avoid temptation. He goes so far as to say “Cut out your eye” if that is what it will take. I don’t think he meant literally cut out your eye but what he meant was that you do whatever it takes to keep yourself from falling into what is tempting you.
- True freedom from these temptations comes from Jesus.
To wrap it all up:
- These temptations exist.
- Jesus doesn’t want us to give in to them.
- Jesus gave us a way out, through scripture, prayer, and relying on other people.
- There will be times that we still give in, in those times we keep going
- Jesus promises that true freedom from these temptations comes in following Jesus.