Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Devotional :: Dealing With Tempatation

Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. The snake asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1 (Good News Bible)

For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, "If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it, that 'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?" "Yes," said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'" Luke 4:9-12 (The Message)

Why exactly is the devil so hell-bent (Hehe, see what I did there? Hell-bent!) on tempting us? The obvious question is to seperate us from God. The devil knows that he can't have a bunch of people walking around free and loving God and being loved by God because that love leads them to a realization of how blessed and powerful they are. The enemy is aiming to keep people blind to the truth and deaf to God's call to come up higher.

If we look at scripture we see 2 ways the devil uses to get us off track:

1. He questions our view of God. Is God's word really true? Did God really say? 
We need to firmly establish in our hearts who God is to us. The more we study the Bible the more His character is revealed to us. We know from scripture God is good, sovereign, and His word is true. From different passages and stories we also get to know God is love, passionate and full of wonder. The more we read, the more we know. 

One thing we can hold on to though is that every word He says is true. He is the supreme authority in our lives. His word is unquestionable and that's just the way it is. We're faced with aspects of this question the devil posed more and more in our culture: Did God really tell you that this is wrong? I know I face this when it comes to the kind of TV shows I watch. My sister asked me once why if I was so excited about a certain type of show and whether it's something I would be comfortable watching with my pastor's knowledge. I laughed it off, but the question stuck with me.  

Did God really say I shouldn't watch this and that? Did God really say I can only go this far with my boyfriend? Did God really say I have to honour ALL authority? It's hard to make the better choice. I know. I've been there. I'm there right now! The devil tempted Jesus to presume upon the promises of God. We presume upon the promises of God when we purposely sin while clinging to a promise of God. If Jesus had purposely sinned by throwing Himself down from the temple, He would have been testing God’s promise to not let Him fall. If I purposely sin while claiming God's promise to forgive sin, I am testing God. It's the same as praying, "God, please forgive me for this sin I am about to commit,"—it presumes upon God's grace.

We need to look at everything through the lens of the word of God. Repeat after me, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."
Check out "How to know the will of God" tomorrow.

2. He questions our identity. We need to ask God who we are. Beyond being a child of God made in His image to love and be loved by Him, I've been asking God, "Why did you create me the way you did? Why do I feel like this when this happens?" "What does this trait of mine teach me and teach others about who You are?" 

The enemy wants us to doubt our relationship with God, and to focus on meeting our own needs without Him. Jesus' 1st temptation was to turn a stone into bread. See how he didn't say 'pray to God and ask Him to turn it into bread.' The devil wants us to doubt our identity in God and then place our reliance on ourselves which ultimately leads us straight into chains. When we're disconnected from our creator and disconnected from His purpose for us, we search for other ways to fill the gap and 'be complete'. 

The truth is that we were created by God, for God. Of love and for love. You and I have a desire to have a full life and God has promised  us that we'll live and live to the fullest. We desire for fullness and satisfaction, and God has promised to fill us with Himself. Will you believe Him and find your fullness in Him? Or will you believe the lies of the devil, who tells you that stuffing yourself full of the world will meet your desire for fullness?

We learn 2 ways to resist and overcome temptation, from someone who fell (Eve) and someone who conquered (Jesus).
  1. Jesus refused to agree/comply with the enemy. Again, repeat after me, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."

  2. He was ready to reply to it. He quoted from Scripture, "It is written". We have to be stubborn about making time for the Bible. Squeeze in the word of God at every opportunity. If it means listening to a sermon on the way to work instead of (often times pervasive talk radio) do it. If it means blasting worship music and singing in the shower, do it. Surround yourself, cover yourself in the word of God.

So Lord, I pray that you'd forgive us for all the times we've doubted who You are. I pray that you would reveal the subtle ways we allow sin into our lives knowingly or unknowingly. I pray that you may show each of us who you made us to be. Amen.

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