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:
If I do this it will please me, I will feel good . . .
I deserve this because . . .
By engaging in this I’m really helping . . .
This isn’t really wrong, my motive is . . .
Matthew 26:41--Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
The Apostle Paul wrote that God would not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear and that He would provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). But this promise has an underlying condition--we must be in fellowship with God. Jesus warned His followers to watch and pray so they would not fall. Whenever I think I am safe and neglect my relationship with God, I am set up to fail. I must be alert to Him and His leading. Otherwise, I will cater or succumb to the demands of my own strong will.
It is very disheartening to observe friends palliate wrongdoing so that they can no longer hear or accept the “No” of the Holy Spirit. Nothing good comes from yielding to sin. Fellowship is damaged. The conscience becomes seared to what is right. A trench is dug in the heart of the one sinning along which critical or bitter thoughts toward the Lord and His people later will flow. How God’s heart must break over the sins of His children.
Temptation itself is not wrong. It is the warning bell that we are about to trespass into forbidden area. I have experienced temptation which actually caused my body to shake—I suspect the reaction of the Holy Spirit towards what I was contemplating. This is the time to flee—to pray—to call a mature believer for help—to resist in the name and mighty power of Jesus. If Temptation copulates with Rationalization the daughter they bear will be called Tabescent and the son they conceive Tenebrific. Resist their union. Watch and pray!
Every temptation of Satan will certainly seem right to us unless we have the Spirit of God. Fellowship with our Lord is the only way to detect them as being wrong.—Oswald Chambers in Making All Things New
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)