Overcoming Temptation

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The local priest was driving down a country road when a second car careened around the bend, spun out of control, and crashed into the priest’s car. Both cars landed in the ditch. The driver of the second car walked over to the priest. “Mercy me!” said the priest. “You nearly killed me!” “I’m sorry,” Father,” apologized the young man as he took a flask of whiskey from his pocket. “Here Father, take a drink of this; it will calm you down.” The priest was impressed with the man’s response. “You are a most generous and considerate fellow,” said the priest as he helped himself to a generous portion of the calming liquid. “A drop of this stuff will be helpful at a time like this.” The priest then took another drink. Now that the priest was all calmed down, he offered some of the whiskey to this fine young man. The man refused the priest’s gesture. “Oh, no, Father,” replied the man. “I’ll just sit here and wait for the police to arrive.”

Here’s an inscription recently observed on a T-shirt: “Lead me not into temptation-I can find it for myself.” Isn’t that the truth for all of us? Temptations face us every day of our lives.

There are five (5) methods that God has given to the believer to overcome temptation. The first is Scripture. The bus brimmed with dozing office workers, restless punkers, and affluent shoppers. At the stop, two men and a woman climbed in. The driver, a seasoned veteran, immediately bellowed, “Everybody watch your valuables. There are pickpockets on board.” Women clutched their purses tightly. Men put their hands on their wallets. All eyes fixed on the trio, who, looking insulted and harassed, didn’t break stride as they promptly exited through the middle doors. The Bible warns us to be vigilant, because evil is less likely to overtake us when we’re watching. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “`He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” (Matthew 4:1-11 NIV)

The second is prayer. Jesus when He was praying in the Garden, took with Him, three of the disciples. He invited them to join Him in prayer. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:46) Jesus teaches the Disciples to pray. MAT 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “A just man comes to Sodom hoping to save the city. He pickets. What else can he do? He goes from street to street, from marketplace to marketplace, shouting, `Men and women, repent. What you are doing is wrong. They laugh, but he goes on shouting, until one day a child stops him. `Poor stranger, don’t you see it’s useless?’ `Yes,’ the just man replies. `Then why do you go on?’ the child asks. `I was convinced that I would change them.
Now I go on shouting because I don’t want them to change me.'” Prayer is your defense! Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

The third is guilt. “The most important thing is to keep on, not to be dismayed however often one yields to the temptation, but always to pick yourself up again and ask forgiveness,” In reviewing your sins don’t either exaggerate them or minimize them. Call them by their ordinary names and see them as you would see the same faults in somebody else – no special blackening or whitewashing.” Guilt is God’s gift to counter “freedom of choice.”

The fourth is avoidance. On the TV show “Hee Haw”, Doc Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm in two places. The doc replies, “Well then, stay out of them places!” He may have something there. We cannot regularly put ourselves in the face of temptation and not be affected. When faced with the problem of temptation, we need to take the good doctor’s advice and “stay out of them places.” Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (1 Cor. 6:18)
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22)

The fifth is the Holy Spirit. A friend bought a new car with a voice-warning system. At first he was amused to hear the soft female voice gently remind him that his seat belt wasn’t fastened. He affectionately called this voice the `little woman.’
He soon discovered his little woman was programmed to warn him about his gasoline. ‘Your fuel level is low,’ she said one time in her sweet voice. He nodded his head and thanked her. He figured he still had enough to go another 50 miles, so he kept on driving. But a few minutes later, her voice interrupted again with the same warning. And so it went over and over. Although he knew it was the same recording, he thought her voice sounded harsher each time. Finally, he stopped his car and crawled under the dashboard. After a quick search, he found the appropriate wires and gave them a good yank. So much for the little woman. He was still smiling to himself a few miles later when his car began sputtering and coughing. He ran out of gas! People like him learn before long that the little voice inside, although ignored or even disconnected, often tells them exactly what they need to know.

Why do we have temptation? Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. Temptation proves what is in the heart. A father had to go on a trip for a few days and instructed his teenage son that the car was not to be used while he was gone. When he returned, his son greeted him and said, “While you were gone, I came very close to breaking my promise to not use the car while you were away. You left the keys, and I carried them for three days, fighting temptation.” The father smiled, “Son, there’s nothing like temptation to show you what you’ll do, if you are given the opportunity!”

Evil never comes from God, only good.

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