Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Temptations~How to Handle Them (James 1:13-15 NKJV)

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15 NKJV)

Though God is sovereign over even our sin and uses our sin for good to teach us, God is not the author of sin.  He allows us to be tempted much like he allowed Job to be tempted when his wife suggested that he curse God and die for all the troubles he had come upon him.

We also see in Job that his temptations were brought on by the trials he was going through and we also see that Satan was only able to tempt him as God gave him leash to do it.  At any point God could have pulled Satan back and said, "Enough!"  But it was not God who tempted Job.

Satan is not always the author of our temptations either as seen by this verse.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies by allowing our own desires to draw us away and entice us to sin. Satan often gets too much credit.  

How do we know the difference between being tempted by Satan and being tempted by our own sinful desires?  I'm not sure it's important to know that.  The main thing is to recognize when we are being tempted and remove ourselves from the sitution if possible or at the least, say, "No."

If the temptation comes in the form of thoughts that enter our minds, the thing to do is to dismiss the thought as rediculous and turn our mind toward more productive pursuits.  The more we try to address the thought and get rid of it the more it turns into a vicious cycle and comes back at us.  However, if we just dismiss it as a rediculous idea, something that is totally out of character for you to do and go to productive pursuits, eventually the nagging thought will fade and leave you alone. 

God would have us turn our thoughts toward Him and His word to combat the temptations that come into our lives.  This includes trials of all kinds, because trials have a tendancy to cause tempting thoughts of various kinds to pop into our heads.  Temptations to doubt God's goodness, our salvation, to entertain heretical thoughts etc, these all have a tendancy to come upon us if we do not keep our focus on Christ stay firmly rooted in the truth of His Word.

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