Overcoming Temptation

 

(1Corinthains 10:13 KJV.)  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 

Well, we are headed into the second week of the New Year. Many of us have made fresh commitments, resolutions, promises, pledges, vows, declarations, decrees or some other undertaking. What I have discovered is that by making such a commitment, that which I have committed not to do, has become a stronger temptation then it ever was before I made the commitment not to do it.

 

It reminds me of how Paul talks about how sin was not sin before the Law, then came the law and that which was called sin suddenly became something we desired, even if it was something we never even thought about before. It is like the best way to get a rebellious teen-ager to do something, is to tell them not to do it.

 

So today we are going to look into God’s word and discover some encouragement, unveil some hope, and acquire some armament against the temptations that keep us from our goals and our higher calling to be more like Jesus.

 

In our passage above we see Paul talking to the Corinthians, who were somewhat, what we today would call “Carnal Christians.” He tries to teach them from the lessons learned by the Israelites in the wilderness, how not to go after the things of the flesh. He begins by telling them how blessed they were.

 

We need to begin our journey in overcoming by knowing how blessed we are. We have the favor of the King. We have the creative power of God almighty to give us strength when we are weak. We have the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We have the Word of God telling us that we are more then conquerors through Christ Jesus. We can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no weapon formed against us will prosper.

 

That is where we have to begin. Our battlefield against temptation is going to be won or lost first in our minds. If we make up our minds that we are going to have the victory then half the battle is won.

 

Another battle field that we do not talk about enough is our heart. I believe, that is where we get our will power from. As for me, I do not have, never did have, much will power. But thanks be to God that where I am weak, He is strong. It is God who gives us both the will, and the strength to do His good pleasure. God will not leave you in your struggle.

 

I can not be sure, but I believe that everyone has something that they are trying at one time or another to overcome. For me right now, it is eating…..

 

I use to be the skinniest person I knew. If I turned sideways and stuck out my tongue you would think I was a zipper. I really never gave food all that much thought. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I always liked to eat good food, but it was not a real big priority for me. Now That I realized that I need to lose a few pounds and eat less… guess what is constantly on my mind…… FOOD, FOOD…. WONDERFUL FOOD…..

 

The good thing that I have going for me, if you can look at it like this, is that I have overcome a lot of addictions in my life. I have overcome alcoholism, and drug addictions, and smoking… you name it I was addicted to it. What I discovered was that in my weakness, there was God’s strength…. I could not quit smoking…. I tried and I tried…. I could not quit drinking… I tried and I tried and I tried and every time I would try and fail, I would end up worse off then before I tried to quit in the first place…. Can I get a witness????

 

I discovered that was the same way with eating…I deciding not to eat after 7:00 at night, and to not eat any high fructose corn syrup, which is in just about everything… well everything good anyway….. I did good for the first week, and then it started to get harder and harder… I found myself falling off the dieter’s wagon and binging out…. Then feeling so guilty afterwards.

 

I never thought quitting something so legal could be that hard.

 

So, I hope that it is not just me, and I also hope that you can use the things that God has taught me, and is continuing to reveal to me in my journey of overcoming, for whatever it is that you might be struggling with.

 

One thing that I did learn this week is the simple concept that before there can really be any good news, there has to be some bad news. Before I realized I was and alcoholic, I just thought that really bad things like loosing everything, over and over again always happened to everyone…. I had to realize that I had a problem. I had to realize the bad news of my addiction. 

 

Before we can come to the realization of the good news of our salvation we first have to come to the realization that we are sinners in need of a savior. Why do you think Jesus talked so freely with the publicans and prostitutes and sinners? It was because they knew that they needed salvation. Too often we become so myopic that we don’t even look ahead to see the cliff we are headed for.

 

And that has to be our first step towards overcoming any temptation, we have to realize that we can not do it by our selves. You can not save yourself, and alone you will not be able to overcome whatever demon you are battling. I call, it a demon, not because of any devil possessing you, but to let you know that we all have our own demons. But just because you have had this familiar spirit with you for so long, does not mean that it can not be defeated. It does mean, that you have got to get sick and tired of it being there, and call upon the God of all creation to come to your side and kick that bad habit, that addiction, that generational curse, that besetting  sin…. That demon of darkness  out of your life, and then keep him out!!!!!

 

In this passage above we are given some ammunition against the enemy of our contention. The first thing it says is that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man”

 

Now there is really two ways you can look at this. You can look at it in the light that you are not alone in this struggle. Other people have overcome this thing… so can you. Don’t think that the whole universe is aimed against you… It is not so unusual for you to stumble in this area, don’t feel so bad about it that you give up…. Be encouraged….

 

The other way to look at it, is for those of you who may be reading this and saying… I am not real sure that this message is for me. I don’t have any real big problems to overcome. I am not addicted to anything… well, not to anything bad anyway. I am not over eating, I am not this, I am not that… Read the verse before this one… Let me give it to you in the Contemporary English Version.

 

(1Co 10:12 & 13)  Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall.  You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.

 

In other words, don’t be so full of hubris, and thinking that you are above any of these things, that you don’t watch where you are headed and fall off that proverbial cliff.  I like the way it puts verse 13: “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted.”

 

So if you are not listening to this message, maybe you better start listening because it might just be exactly for you and you don’t even know it!

 

But let’s go back to that first thought, because I really don’t think that there is anyone, who actually thinks they don’t have any thing, that they have to overcome… do you know anyone like that???? Me neither….. OK, telling lies is another thing I have to overcome….

 

You can handle, this thing. In fact you know deep inside you that you can defeat this. God is not going to let you go down in defeat. This thing is not going to win. You do not have to let this thing beat you. You can get up and fight the good fight and win. There is a scripture verse that talks about how we have not been tempted onto blood…

 

(Hebrews 12:4 KJV)  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

 

This thing, what ever it is, has not killed you yet, and you do not have to let it.  God is right there with you through it all. You do not have any more then He knows that you, with His help, can win the victory over, and in that victory gain strength, and experience and with that build up an even stronger faith.

 

(Romans 5:3-4 KJV)  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

 

So, the fact is all of us are being tempted every day. The good news is that God can be trusted……. Now, this is important; read this in the BBE version:

 

(1Co 10:13 BBE)  You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.

 

The interesting word that I like in this passage is the word translated “a way out,” or in the King James, “ a way to escape.”

The word is:

ek'-bas-is

It comes from two words the first means “from,” the second means “one step.”

 

If you but them together and listen to what God is saying here, it tells you that God is faithful, and will see you through this thing, one step at a time, from the first step all the way through to victory.

 

The key is one step at a time. I know the 12 step programs like to say “one day at a time.” But for some of us it has to be more like one minute at a time….

 

I remember trying to quit smoking. It seemed like about every fifteen minutes I would have about a five minute nicotine fit. That lasted for 72 hours…. Four fits every hour, that would be what? 20 minutes times 72… let me get my calculator up….. that’s 1,440 minutes of nicotine fits. Divide that by 60 minutes and that is a full 24 hours..

 

So if you think about it, it is really does come down to only one day of withdrawal that you have to go through to quit smoking. “One day at a time, sweet Jesus!”

 

But God does not stop there. We all know that quitting smoking  or anything else is easy, I have done it a thousand times…. It is staying quit that becomes the real test.

 

I like the American Standard Version for this one.

 

(1Co 10:13 ASV)   ….that ye may be able to endure it.

 

The key word here is to endure. Stick to it. I was at first going to call this message “stick to it ness!” That is what God wants you to do. He wants you to first of all know that you can beat this thing. Secondly, that He is right there with you, in your weakness, He will be your strength. And He does not want you to, under any circumstances, to ever, never give up!!!!

 

You may have, like me, already stumbled in your New Year’s resolution, or commitment or what ever you may have called it. But take heart, dig back in and get a fresh start and know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And if you have not yet made that commitment then now is the time, today is the day of your salvation. 

 

Let’s all get a fresh start and ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins and invite Him to take the central role in our lives and to sit upon the throne of our hearts. It is time to dig in and win. It is time to press on towards that high calling. It is time for your victory to begin.

 

 

I found this poem and thought it might be just the thing to inspire you on!

 

  

Equipment

Edgar A. Guest

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,

You’re all that the greatest of men have had;

Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes;

And a brain to use if you would be wise,

With this equipment they all began.

 

So start for the top and say “I can.”

Look them over, the wise and great,

They take their food from a common plate

And similar knives and forks they use,

With similar laces they tie their shoes.

The world considers them brace and smart,

But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

 

You can triumph and come to skill,

You can be great if you only will.

You’re well equipped for what fight to choose;

You have legs and arms and a brain to use,

And the man who has risen great deeds to do

Began his life with no more than you.

 

You are handicap you must face,

You are the one who must choose your place,

You must say where you want to go,

How much you will study the truth to know;

God has equipped you for life, but He

Lets you decide what you want to be.

 

Courage must come from the soul within

The man must furnish the will to win,

So figure it out for yourself, my lad

You were born with all that the great ever had,

With your equipment they all began,

Get hold of yourself and say, “I can.”