I’m convinced that prayerlessness is a major factor when I give into temptation. If I’m tempted and I run to the Lord in prayer immediately my will is altered and I’m fortified to do what I know I ought to do. When I neglect seeking His help every fiendish aspect of rationalization works to my detriment. But even in praying for God’s help to resist evil there is a responsibility on my part to be committed to God’s truth and will. Jerry Bridges notes in The Discipline of Grace, “There’s no point in praying for God’s help in the face of temptation if we haven’t made a commitment to obedience without exception.”
I had the privilege for several weeks of working with four Army generals. In discussing the importance of a good reputation, several of them shared why it was vital to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Their conduct was measured not just by standards but also the perception of those standards. Aside from their own moral and spiritual convictions what they were willing to do or not do was tied directly to the people they served. I was encouraged that powerful men modeled integrity with humility.
We could feel the tension increase as the Willamette Star Cruise continued to struggle. What should have taken a few minutes stretched to almost half an hour. The Captain was unable to bring our boat to the dock. Jokes passed across the deck below as some from the wedding party waited to disembark. “Now you can see why I never joined the Navy.” “Hmmm, wonder what he’s been drinking.” “Must be a rookie driver.”
When I am tempted it is never along the line of “Oh here is something wrong I can get away with doing.” The danger of temptation is when I rationalize the behavior or action I am drawn to commit over the objections of the Holy Spirit or God’s word. Temptation is a shortcut to pleasing my wants or concerns. Its chorus is never grating. It is extremely appealing:
Drafting is such an amazing art. I find it fascinating how engineers depict buildings and objects through the skillful drawing of lines and shading areas. Did you know that perspective is defined in The American Heritage Dictionary as: “The technique of representing three-dimensional objects and depth relationships on a two-dimensional surface."
In the course of life, I've learned that my Mind daily receives an unwelcome visitor. On some days he keeps to himself and is hardly noticeable. On other days he's obnoxious, devious and overbearing. Sometimes he boasts while at other times he is smooth and spellbinding. The Mind's manager, Will, knows not to underestimate his ploys. Even still he inexplicably will entertain this unsavory fellow or give him the room with the largest view. Until the Owner returns, he cannot throw him out for he retains his own hidden pass key.
There are few things which reveal a person’s heart so well as money. Consider the rich young man Jesus met (Matthew 19:16-22). He honesty wondered what good thing he must do to gain life without end. He had been faithful to keep God’s commandments. Jesus said, ““If you want to be perfect,”Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (vs. 21). Faced with the prospect of relinquishing his wealth, the rich man sadly departed.
As a child, I suffered growing pains and often cried before finally drifting off. To this night, I often experience tight leg muscles or an overly active mind that makes it difficult to relax. Many times I have tossed and turned in frustration—unable to escape consciousness. Counting sheep never worked for me—I think it’s a math thing. One night in this predictably unpredictable occurrence, I sensed there was an issue I needed to pray over. Upon returning from the couch and time on my knees with God, something incredible happened—sleep came readily.
I grew up in a pornography-free environment. My parents love God and they made sure that we were raised in a house that allowed no such filth.