Tempted!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:12-22 NIV

Such rich word from James–reminding us that though many may be tempted to do those things which are not right in God’s sight, we do not have to give in and we certainly cannot say–“God tempted us.”

We are tempted to given into those things we want to do–right or wrong. If our flesh controls what we do rather than Holy Spirit, then we’ll most likely given in to the temptations set before us and the enemy–Satan–knows exactly how we can be tempted, but just like God won’t force us to do anything, neither will or can Satan. Our choices determine our consequences.

Some people are tempted by money and obtaining it by any means possible. This temptation is nurtured by greed and desire for power and status and usually ends up leading people to a jail cell for corruption via embezzling, bribery, and illicit deals often conducted in darkness and in secrecy.

Some people are tempted by desire for affection and sexual gratification. This temptation is nurtured by the seeds planted in the mind from pornographic material and dissatisfaction with one’s current state in a relationship. When a person won’t keep their flesh under control, relationships are shattered, health is risked, and in some cases–people are publicly humiliated because of their lack of control.

Had an interesting exchange with someone on Twitter last night in response to a tweet about Pence saying, he won’t be alone with a woman and always requires his wife’s presence. Now, while this might sound “holy” to some, it struck me that he doesn’t trust himself to not be tempted in an effort to appease his own desires. Since he is supposed to be a Christian, I wonder why he’s concerned since Holy Spirit should be guiding all he does. I know some would attempt to apply, “we should avoid the very appearance of evil” to this situation, but I’m having a hard time understanding how a man being alone with a woman or vice versa should be considered evil.

Because of my ministry, I have been alone with men on a number of occasions and I’ve not been tempted to do anything that would not honor God. In jail ministry, in ministering to veterans as a volunteer chaplain, in business endeavors–whatever situation I found myself in–I knew I could count on Holy Spirit to keep me from falling short.

My point in all this is simply–know yourself and what may tempt you. I’m tempted by cheesecake and so I try staying away from places that sell the best and when I do cave–I only purchase one serving. Money doesn’t tempt me and nor does anything that could land me in a jail cell. I know when I pray, God hears and I allow Holy Spirit to do what He does best–keep me in check.

So, if you’re tempted to do something you shouldn’t–ask yourself why and if professing to be a man or woman of God, submit to Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead in all things.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

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