God uses everything for good, even when Satan uses the same thing to destroy us. Temptation can be used for good or evil. The good is being tempted and not falling for it. Standing strong. Staying on the straight and narrow. The evil is falling for it.
“Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ.” That’s no fun, some might say, to always try to do good. It can be fun to sin. It feels good, for a while, anyway. But when we purposely do the wrong thing because we give in to what tempts us, we are falling away from God. We are all tempted. We all have our weaknesses. Satan knows what our weaknesses are and he does his darnedest to tease us with those temptations as often as he can. When we face those temptations and then choose to walk away from them or stand up to them and say no, we are becoming more like Jesus. Jesus was tempted many times but he stood against it. He did not sin. We will all sin, because we are not perfect like Jesus. When we sin, we fall away from God, but he’s still there wanting us to come back to him. Sin is like running away from home. It’s the wrong thing to do. But when we come home again, our parents welcome us with open arms and hold us for a while, missing us because we left them. It’s the same thing with sin. We run away from God but he’s right there waiting for us to come back into his warm, loving arms. He doesn’t hold it against us, if we are truly sorry and try to not do that thing again. We have to be stronger the next time and the next. It’s not like we are just going to sin the one time, you know? He is willing to forgive each and every time. The point is that you try your best to be strong. Either stand up to the temptation or walk away from it. Temptation is a choice. Good or evil? You decide.
“Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.”
Peace is learned when we put our trust and faith and God to get us through those times we are tempted to be worried or scared. Patience is learned the same way – trusting in God when we’re forced to wait, instead of getting mad about it.
Do you think Satan puts those evil thoughts inside of you? Satan can merely distract you. He knows those things you think about. He knows your weaknesses and he likes to use them against you to encourage your fall away from God. It’s a war, see? It’s good against evil and it always has been since the days of Adam and Eve. Those evil thoughts are in your mind. They are inside of you. Temptations do not lie around us. It “begins within us.” Satan uses our thoughts to destroy us. He tempts us. We have a choice, though. Play on God’s team or . . .
Oh, and a tiny sin is still a sin, no matter how ya look at it. Just thought I’d throw that in. Mr. Warren says it best on Page 235: “. . . a little sin is like being a little pregnant: It will eventually show itself.” Even if you think no one will ever know – you are wrong. You know. God knows. Who else might actually know without your knowledge? Satan knows.
Do you feel guilty for being tempted? Ashamed even? Don’t be. “You will never outgrow temptation. . . . a normal part of being human and living in a fallen world. Don’t be surprised or shocked or discouraged by it.” The sin is not the temptation. The sin is giving in.
Appreciating the beauty of the opposite sex and being physically attracted is not a bad thing. Lusting after it is. There is a difference. Even being aroused by that attraction is not a bad thing. God made all of us sexual beings. Attraction and arousal are natural to us humans. “. . . attraction is not lust until you begin to dwell on it.”
When we are faced with temptation, we can receive immediate assistance if we “request God’s help. Heaven has a twenty-four hour emergency hot line.” God says, “Call on me in times of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me.” You don’t have time for a chatty conversation with him during these times. “. . . you simply cry out.” Many people of the Bible cried out for help in times of trouble. Simply beg God to help you and allow him to help you.
“The Bible guarantees that our cry for help will be heard because Jesus is sympathetic to our struggle. He faced the same temptations we do.”
We all need a little help sometimes, especially when we are tempted. Simply ask for his help and know that he’s got your back. He will help you be strong and avoid that temptation. You still have to do your part.
Let us each make this a fabuloso Friday! Last day of the work week, for some. Sorry to those of you that have to work on the weekend. I remember those days and I feel for ya. Make the most of today. How can you make God smile today? If you have nothing in you but “thanks, God,” that’s enough.
Love ya! *smooch*