Copyright © Rievaulx Methodist Church 2021
Rievaulx Methodist Church, Rievaulx, Helmsley, York, YO62 5LB
October 2018 Blog:
I have been wrestling with temptation over the last couple of weeks. It all started when I preached from the book of James. I found myself parked in the first chapter of this wonderful letter for the next 4 weeks. Spending time in this passage really took hold of me and finally led me to the issue of temptation.
I doubt there has ever been a person who has not been tempted. For those who yield to temptation after 5 minutes have no idea of the power of temptation and the strength it takes to resist it.
Even Jesus himself was tempted. Only those who resist temptation know how strong it is.
We must never make the mistake of saying, ‘God tempted me’ or that, ‘God made me this way so I am only doing what he has made natural for me to do’. This is a big mistake.
James, clearly tells us God tempts no one. “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then after the desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15).
Have you noticed when we are tempted we start pondering the idea and then we begin talking ourselves into it and finding ways to justify it!
Jeremiah was right when he said, ‘the heart is deceitful above all things.’ (Jer 17:9).
Temptation however can be a useful teacher when we recognise it for what it is. Temptation pinpoints the weak areas of our moral character and magnifies the flaws in our inner nature. If we recognise these weak areas we recognise our propensity to sin and the need for a saviour.
A person’s inner nature (thoughts and secret desires of the heart) determines how they can be tempted in their outer nature. Thus the temptation reveals the possibilities of their true nature. This means temptation will only come to each of us in accordance with the level of our controlling inner nature.
Oh how we need a saviour. What joy there is in knowing we have a saviour who ‘was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin’. (Heb 4:15)
We know temptation is not something we can ever be totally free from in this life. However if we keep our focus on Jesus our Lord and Saviour we begin to see him as a greater worth than the transient desire of the temptation.
We have been given the Holy Spirit which makes us conquerors, more than conquerors through him who loves us.
Keep your eye on Jesus and not on the temptation…. Hope this helps
Watch the funny clip below from Francis Chan about temptation