Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 

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.

Sin destroys relationships and life; and temptation is the doorway to sin. Temptation is not sin, but only the desire to commit an act which immediately or eventually leads to a destructive end result. Yet even before the sinful behavior takes place, many times the destructive attitude is already in place waiting to be released through an act of physical means.

Temptation is the circumstance you find yourself in that may consume into sin depending on how you handle the matter. Temptation is the test of your character. God knows who you are, and the outcome of the test only reveals to yourself where you stand. You either have the character to totally trust God or you do not. The outcome is your measuring bar.

The secret to avoid sin is to constantly pray beforehand that you are not led into temptation. Again, temptation is not sin, but only the test of your character. If you find yourself continually in situations repeating destructive vices, you need to change something.

Jesus recommends us to “watch and pray”; that our spirit is willing but our human flesh is weak. The Lord’s prayer even outlines we need to ask our Heavenly Father not to lead us into temptation (Matt. 6:13).

Temptation befalls all humans. It started with Adam and Eve who fell and led humanity into a broken, rebellious state of relationship with God. Jesus himself was tempted in the wilderness and came out victorious over Satan, and even today with yours truly who messed up again this morning. This time around I had to ask myself, what must I change. The answer: review what Jesus did in the wilderness.

First, he was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit knowingly to be tested.

Second, he fasted for forty days – leaving him in a physical weaken state but spiritually strong. As Paul writes in Corinthians, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When Jesus was confronted with three different options to satisfy his desires, he replied to Satan with Scripture that reflected his faith and trust in His Father. He denied himself and trusted God will provide rather than take matters into his own hand to bring about the results he knew was his immediately rather than wait unto Him.

Though unlike Adam & Eve in the garden, Jesus had total trust in His father to bring about the results he desired without destroying the relationship with Him. After the temptation, he was ministered and physically revised to commence his public ministry.

Temptation will come to all. And all will somewhere fail. Failure though allows us to experience the grace of God and help us realize the need for a savior. We become more grateful for Jesus Christ who lived a human vicarious life for us all. He was our substitute and knows the war between the flesh and the spirit.

He knows the flesh is weak. But if weak flesh and weak spirit is the culprit, what is the solution? How about weak flesh and strong Spirit?

When our eyes are on God and we truly seek to serve Him and bring glory to Him, temptation will have minimum influence and pull. It is when we allow our carnal desires to take the lead instead of the power of the Spirit that we fail.

Real freedom comes when there is no temptation because there is no desire to satisfy selfish needs. As perfect love has no fear, perfect love also has total trust in God’s deliverance. We may suffer through the process, but endurance builds godly character. We know our eternal Coach and Trainer is with us through the entire process as the foundation for godly fruit is being built through the entire ordeal.

Escaping temptation doesn’t mean we will not suffer; but shows we will not rebel against our Maker. We will endure; and we will trust Him who loves us more than anyone. For we know when this trial is over, we will stand stronger in Him than before.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Problems, Trials, Obstacles

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14.22 ESV.

overcome-2

Question: what is one of the biggest illusions faith communities portray to the world? Answer: that the Christian Life is free from pain, troubles, and heartaches.

I remember in my mid-thirties having a heated discussion with Mom about being unprepared to handle the constant problems life throws at us. Growing up under the false assumption that life is a formula when applied will result in favorable outcomes, I came to the slow realization that the only person who prospered from such erroneous thinking were the authors and publishers generating such propaganda. Life involves constant battles of survival, obstacles that need to be overcome, and many activities without guaranteed outcomes.

Yet if someone had told me back then what I now know, would things turn out differently?

Maybe. Or maybe not. But it would have been more focused and life-generating.

Today’s scripture was the outcome after the apostle Paul was left stoned to death a few days earlier. Being left dead, his associates gathered him and brought him back to the city where he arose the next day to preach the gospel to his audience. Did Paul know something we don’t?

His message? “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

God doesn’t necessary always prevent crap from happening in our life. Most of the time, he promises to walk through it with you and I. As he joins us in the cesspool of life, we come to know him better, learn to communicate with him, and develop a trust in him. In the process of overcoming the turmoil, we also grow in godly character and may even redeem the situation for Him. You may also come into contact with others who will witness your patience and trust in Christ. You become a living testimony. When your Savior and Lord works out the mess you are in, you will discover more of his grace. After you walk through several of these undesirable situations, your faith is strengthen. You begin to realize how much God truly loves you.

Yes your circumstances may stink, but life is good. God not only resides in you, but is actively involved in morphing you into his divine image. You slowly or quickly learn that tribulations are the escalators that Father-Son-Spirit use to strengthen and encourage us and others in our daily walk with Him. Like an Olympic athlete, we appreciate the coach; knowing we are being pushed and trained for bigger purposes. The event: a taste of God’s Kingdom now while we wait for the full completion in the world tomorrow.  The earlier we realize the circumstances and problems this life brings our way are designed to prepare you and me for eternity, the quicker we will turn to our Savior and walk with Him through the ordeal. The process may be unnatural, but the outcome is definitely supernatural. So the next time you face problems, trials, and obstacles – pray, rejoice and learn from the Master Builder and Coach: Father-Son-Spirit. You may  be pleasantly surprised to find yourself rejoicing through the ordeal.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 360
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

JOBITIS

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil…this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” JOB 1:1-3

job 2

Woe is me! You are welcome to come to my self-pity party. No one understands me. Life stinks. Why doesn’t God hear my prayers? I quit. These are words that I and many others have said someplace, somewhere, sometime in our journey through life. Especially when circumstances didn’t meet our expectations.

At times like this, I like to reread the Book of Job in the Old Testament. Theologians believe this is the first book written in the Bible. It is a story of a very successful businessman, family man, and philanthropist who ran into destructive circumstances beyond his control. God even stated that Job was blameless in his walk with Him.

Yet in a manner of days, he lost everything; all his wealth, his entire family except for his wife who even doubted him, and his physical health. His friends came to comfort him only to bombard him with religious formula’s and concepts blaming him for his downfall. Most remarkably though, through the entire ordeal he remained blameless before God. His main request through this painful trial was the desire to have a conference with God so he could debate his position. And God did grant him his request. In the end of his story, God confronted him and began to question Job. It was then that Job realized his insignificance before God, acknowledged His authority, and appreciated coming to know Him more intimately than ever before.

Being human, we all suffer at times with what I call “JOB-I-TIS.” A condition where our entire world seems to fall apart. Where we stand totally naked in mind, heart, and will before God. Where everything is beyond our capacity to manage or change. What good can come out of all this? How does one grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? How does our relationship with the Triune God becomes more intimate?

Is it not the more challenging times when our world is collapsing that we draw closer to God? Isn’t this the moment of truth when we find out where we stand before God? If our expectations are not met, we either turn away from God and return to our own ways, or we trust God that He will bring about a better solution. It is at moments like this where we are stretched beyond our self-imposed capacity. If we hang in there long enough, we are reminded that God is doing a wonderful work in us. He is creating a new you in Christ. It isn’t easy. Yet it is highly eternally rewarding. Our reward may not come at this time or in this life (many martyrs of the faith have displayed this fact). Yet our reward now is a more intimate, growing relationship with God as a byproduct through the trials and tests that life produces. To have a mutual relationship with the Creator God is more joy than one can ever imagine. And yes, even our faith is strengthen when God pulls us through the trial through the other end.

So the next time you experience that JOBITIS condition, remember Job’s story. Yes he suffered through a painful event. Yet in the end, he came out more blessed than ever before. That is the hand of God who is always with you and for you as we walk through the trials and tests of this life.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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