Last week we concluded when I shared that I hoped to move towards helping each of you to be freed from sin. However, I believe that for most of you, speaking specifically to those who have traveled along your Restoration Journey with the Lord long enough (after already having experienced a season of brokenness that’s required, coupled with the way Mary Magdalene wept over the Lord’s feet), I really sense that most of our triggers and “sore” spots is not "sin" at all. And that’s why I sense that today He wants us to learn more about the accuser. Learning a bit more of how he cleverly makes us feel like a sinner through temptation.
A few weeks ago while reading over a praise report to approve its content, I read one from a minister that was far too vague. And though I’ve already begun working on an upcoming Living Lesson. A lesson I hope to be able to share a bit of wisdom regarding the “ditch of being too vague or overly discreet,” which is the opposite ditch from where most of us used to hang out—by exhibiting a lack of discretion...
Let me just say right now, so you don’t need to wait if the enemy can’t keep you in the left ditch where most of us live, the accuser won’t let you just happily travel along the narrow road you’ve discovered, but instead the enemy will falsely accuse you of lacking discretion until you back up and back up, moving closer and closer to the edge on the other side— until with one final tiny push, you step back and slip down into a ditch where what you say or write is SO overly “discreet” it becomes secretive or so heavily concealed to the point that what you have to say is basically useless.
Sorry, I got off on a short mental excursion, but I’m back now
What I’ve wanted to write about, and what I hope to set you free from, is something wonderful that the Lord showed me years ago about the true meaning of temptation.
It began when I became *angry whenever I would read commentaries from biblical “scholars” who would say that Jesus was tempted to sin, meaning He considered "sinning." No way!
Just because satan showed Jesus the rocks He could turn into bread or rocks He could leap off the cliff, do you honestly think for one minute Jesus “considered” acting on what the enemy was tempting Him with or even thinking of doing it!?!?! Of course NOT! He did not say to Himself, “Hmmmm maybe I should just turn a few of these rocks into bread because I am very hungry.” Or “Gosh, I could fling Myself off here just to experience what it would be like to be caught in midair.” How ridiculous!
And for most of you, who have truly become His, and have experienced Him being your Lord, Friend and God as your Father, none of you consider temptations that you hear or imagine in your mind.
Forgive me, but I have to take you on another short excursion, explaining about righteous *anger since I mentioned being angry above. Yes, there is such a thing as righteous anger, but very few exhibit righteous anger. How you’ll know is when it stems or is rooted in being angry over the innocent. What will help you be able to discern what this means, is to meditate on this verse for a week or two:
Proverbs 24:11-12—"Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
If you say, “See, we did not know this,”Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?"
*If you click on Proverbs 24:11-12 you’ll see two good cross references that will also help.
Okay, now back to our main theme: the True meaning of Temptation.
Many years ago when I sought Him for wisdom, the Lord used the scenario of me walking to the store (a large store that was close to my house at the time) and He had me envision someone hiding in the bushes, calling out to me, trying to sell me a “cheap” bike. A bike I knew instinctively had to be stolen.
Even though, yes, I heard him calling while I am ignoring his temptations as I try to walk away quickly, that person is still trying to “tempt” me, right? That means I’ve been tempted. Yes, Jesus was tempted, but neither He nor I would ever consider doing what the tempter was asking or suggesting. Right?
It’s only when I mentally or in my heart consider giving into that temptation is when sin is conceived. It’s only when I begin entertaining the idea.
“…each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (The definition of lust is a “longing” for what is forbidden.) Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:14-16*.
Another way of thinking of the kind of temptation that Jesus and we face as true followers is when we consider entertaining a temptation— would be like letting a cat into your house. If you let a cat into your house, even once, as soon as you let it in, just ONCE, it will find a way in each time you open the door—even an inch!
It’s the same with sin, even considering sin once, or basically entertaining it in your mind, will create a crack that will cause a full-fledged temptation you’ll have to wrestle with over and over and over again. So do NOT “entertain” sin ever. And if you have sin tempting you, shut and bolt the door and then turn around to do something else GOOD to distract you.
Psalm 34:14—“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
The Message—“Turn your back on sin; then do something good. Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!”
So STOP now and Selah on what you’ve learned, in other words, meditate on everything. AND be sure that you just don’t think about what you’ve learned, but you set up a date with your Father to be alone and discuss it with Him. Stop right now and ask Him to share with you how this message applies to you.
*Take a moment to click on EACH of the bible verse links (above) because the cross-references will help you grasp the meaning more fully. Also if English isn’t your first language, use the feature and go through the pulldown menu to find your own language.