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.”
Joe works hard at work and by the time he gets home he is exhausted. Too often he is impatient with his children and snaps at his wife. When he loses his temper and yells at her it is not because he wants to be a jerk or to act in such an unloving manner. The fact is his willpower is nearly sapped. Unfortunately, because of this, he is also insensitive to the fact that his wife, Alice, is also exhausted from watching high-energy children and operating at the tail end of being sick. Her willpower and ability to understand his feelings is also at a low end.
3 John 11—Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
The preceding passage is one of identity. John makes a simple distinction to his reader Gaius. Choose what is good and by doing so define yourself as a follower of God. John illustrates this in the next verse when he applauds Demetrius as being a man with a good testimony. I suspect Gaius knew Demetrius.
Jesus in the final hours before getting arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane asked eight of the disciples to sit while he prayed. Then He took Peter, James and John with him further into the garden. Disclosing His anguish to His three closest friends, He asked them to stay awake with Him. Then He went a little further and fell face down on the ground to pray. When He returned to the three he found them sleeping. He confronted Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?” (vs. 37)
Genesis 12:10-13—There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine in the land was severe. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me but let you live. Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.”
The story of Abraham would make a great movie. Knowing how attractive his wife was and what the Egyptians were like, he was correct in being concerned. Pharaoh’s
Jamaal and Hannah spend hours each day playing video games. Their mother Roxanne*, says it is “okay”—at least they are not doing drugs or out on the street involved with the wrong crowd. Today we have Jamaals and Hannahs in their mid-thirties who devote hours each day to gaming. Their spiritual lives are mediocre and their contribution to advancing heaven’s agenda is abysmal. Their parents let them feed their infatuations when they were younger so long as the obsession was “harmless.” But there is no such thing as a harmless infatuation.
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.