Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Temptation: Accountability

Chuckle: Returning from the concession stand, Marge asked a man at the end of the row, “Excuse me, did I step on your foot a few minutes ago?” Expecting an apology, the man said, “Yes you did.” Marge said, “Oh good. This is my row.”
Quote: "Opportunity knocks but once, but temptation leans on the doorbell." –Unknown source
WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN WE YIELD TO TEMPTATION?
"And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead (drag us) to evil actions, and evil actions (sins) lead to death. So don't be misled (deceived), my dear brothers and sisters" (James 1:13-16 NLT).
Last time, we saw that Temptation is "An enticement to satisfy a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way." We saw that desires for food, sexual intimacy, success, and acceptance are examples of God-given desires, but when we try to fulfill them in ways that God forbids we sin against God and others.
When we sin by giving in to temptation, we never intend to destroy ourselves, our families, our reputations, our happiness, but yielding can do all of these. And it can happen without us realizing it until it's too late. As Christians, we must be prepared to deal with temptation. Have you noticed that the proud are often the ones who fall the hardest?. They think it can never happen to them. Remember Peter who said to Jesus: "I will never forsake you Lord; I will never deny you." He was proud.
From our passage, here are the steps that yielding to temptation will take: (1) Desire for gratification in a sinful way; (2) Deception -- making the temptation appear desirable and normal; (3) Sin -- the ungodly act of yielding to evil temptations; and (4) Disaster and even death. ". . . . but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (vs. 14 NIV). The word "dragged" or "carried" away is a word for a trap, like one used to catch an animal. You hide/conceal it carefully but put attractive bait on it. "Entice" is like putting the most attractive bait on your hook. The unsuspecting fish is enticed to take the bait. The hook is not tempting but the bait is.
Biblical truths tell us that temptations: (1) Nearly always are related to the fulfillment of physical desires, not spiritual; (2) Usually include a desire for instant gratification; (3) Play on our desire for independence and self-rule. "I have a right to cheat on my taxes because the government is not fair -- because of what they are doing to me;" and (4) Questions the fairness of God. "God hasn't treated me right." It's easy to blame others and make excuses, but God holds only us accountable for our actions. We must remember: Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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