"And Lead Us Not into Temptation"
“And Lead Us Not into Temptation”
I don’t know about you, but it is when I am overwhelmed, frayed, in my low points that I am most susceptible to temptation. This is when I become more and more likely to fall into bad habits and thought patterns-when I am most ready to go to other gods for comfort and relief.
Right now, being isolated, being fearful the adversary will come to you, temp you and try to drag you backwards. Back into doubt, sin, wrong-headed thinking, anger, frustration and hopelessness.
So, I want to share with you a few scriptures today about how to battle temptation, the first of which is Genesis 4:6-7. Here Cain and Abel have presented sacrifices to God. God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice but not with Cain’s. Cain is upset by this and look at what God said to him, The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
God here tells Cain a very simple truth that we often miss, It is always up to you. You always have a choice! The devil wants you to think that he or someone else can make you do it. In the story of the fall the first thing Adam and Eve do is try to shift the blame for their sins. Adam even partially blames God when he says, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Don’t we do the same thing? Listen sin always involves a choice. Now you can take this to be discouraging – as in, “It’s always my fault.” But a better way to take this is as opportunity! This leads to our next verse:
1 Corinthians 10:13 says this, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” Let’s stop there for a moment. Here Paul is telling you that, no matter what temptation you face, you are not the only person who has or is facing that temptation. The adversary wants you to believe you are alone, special in your temptation. That nobody understands what it is like – this is false! You are not alone and, 9 times out of 10, if you are willing to be transparent you will find someone else who has or is dealing with the same thing. The Bible teaches that even Jesus understands what it is like to be tempted! Hebrews 4:15, “ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Paul continues,
“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Here Paul makes the same point God made in Genesis – there is always a way out, you always have a choice.
James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
This is such an important piece to battling sin. Confessing your sin to a brother or sister in Christ and having them pray for you James says leads to healing! God does the forgiving – but in relationship with each other God means for us to find healing! It is such a precious thing to confess a sin to a brother or sister and Christ and have that person accept you anyway and help hold you accountable – saying as Jesus did to the woman caught in adultery, “neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
Finally, remember 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
One of the biggest reasons we fall off of bandwagons is because we make one mistake and think we might as well give up! Don’t allow shame and guilt to keep you down as if the Gospel weren’t true! If you do fail – take it to God and He will forgive you if the repentance is sincere!
We are not striving to be perfect – we cannot be – we are striving for steady upward progress.
We are not striving to save ourselves – only Christ can do that – indeed He already has – we are striving to bring Him glory! To do right out of gratitude for all He has accomplished for us!