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  • Steve Parker
    Jan 1, 2006

      by Bob Gass

      Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and
      James 1:14 NKJV

      Before we give in to temptation we go through certain stages: (1) By
      neglecting prayer and Bible reading we become callous. Insensitive
      to danger, we find ourselves drawn like a moth to the flame. (2) We
      begin to rationalize and conclude, "Nobody knows, what harm will it
      do?" (3) As our carnal appetites increase, our conscience erodes.
      (4) We surround ourselves with others who do the same, or are
      willing to look the other way.

      "But I would never do such things," you say. Maybe, but what things
      would you do? And another question arises, "Have you reached your
      hour of testing yet?" When Jesus told Peter he'd deny his Lord,
      Peter replied, "No way!" Yet within hours he'd fallen flat on his
      face. James says, "Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his
      own [particular] desires and enticed." You have vulnerable areas,
      which if not disciplined by commitment and character, have the
      ability to destroy you.

      "What can I do?" you ask. When Jehoshaphat came up against an enemy
      too big to handle alone, he prayed, "We have no power against this
      great multitude... We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon
      You" ( 2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV). Jehoshaphat understood three
      things: (a) He knew that in his own strength he was no match for
      this enemy; (b) He was humble enough to acknowledge it and reach for
      help; (c) He knew where to turn - "our eyes are upon You." What's
      the secret of victory? Lean on Jesus, not yourself!

      Flee...youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness.
      2 Timothy 2:22 NKJV

      In Genesis, when Eve looked at the tree in the middle of the garden,
      she "saw... its fruit was good [and]... she took some" Genesis 3:6
      NCV. Look out! The tempter knows what will appeal to each of us. He
      knew that God had great plans for Eve so he decided to seduce her,
      and in so doing, deal a deathblow to her descendants. Understand
      this: the battle is always over your future. The issue is not just
      you - it's about those God plans to bless through you!

      Look at Samson: his character didn't match his strength and skill in
      the workplace. He fooled himself into thinking that he could live as
      he pleased and escape the consequences. His life is a gold mine of
      valuable lessons, such as: (1) success in one area doesn't make you
      immune to failure in others; (2) temptation always returns to the
      scene of its previous success; (3) flirting with temptation makes
      defeat inevitable; (4) even though yielding to temptation may not
      cut you off from God's grace, it can limit your usefulness to Him;
      (5) where we consider ourselves strongest is where we're least
      likely to prepare for attack.

      Paul writes, "Flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness."
      Remember Kenny Rogers' famous song, The Gambler? "You gotta know
      when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em; know when to walk away, and
      know when to run." That's what Joseph did. He decided that giving in
      to Potiphar's wife would be "a sin against God" Genesis 39:9, so he
      ran from the house. God isn't dishonored when you run - He's
      dishonored when you don't!

      Satan has asked for you.
      Luke 22:31

      Are you struggling with temptation? Here's a plan for victory.

      (1) Decide that you don't have to give in. Jesus said, "I have given
      you... [physical and mental strength] over all the power that the
      enemy [possesses]" Luke 10:19 AMP. Get rid of your "I can't"
      attitude. Start drawing daily on God's strength. (2) If you slip,
      don't wallow. Becoming mature is a life-long process. It takes place
      each time you turn to God in your weakness and allow Him to do for
      you what you can't do for yourself. (3) Confess your sin.
      Listen: "The Lord is near to the broken-hearted" Psalm 34:18 NAS.
      God always responds to a repentant heart. He'll meet you at your
      lowest point, walk with you through the valley of regret, and bring
      you out stronger and wiser. (4) Make a 3-column list: (a)
      Discoveries. List everything you've learned about yourself, others,
      and God's Word through temptation; (b) The New Me. List areas that
      still need to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind" Romans
      12:2; (c) Action Plan. Write down the things you want to integrate
      into your life like prayer, confession to God, accountability to a
      friend, Bible reading and memorization, identifying weak spots and
      watching yourself more closely. (5) Use what you've learned. Jesus
      told Peter, "Satan has asked for you... but I have prayed for you,
      that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me,
      strengthen your brethren" Luke 22:31-32 NKJV. Let today mark a new
      beginning by using what you've learned, not only to avoid falling
      again, but also to help others facing the same temptations.

      To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne.
      Revelation 3:21

      Before leaving the subject of temptation let's underscore the
      following truths: (1) Any weakness constantly indulged in, excused,
      denied or hidden, can enslave you. (2) Failure to identify and
      target your dominant weakness guarantees defeat. (3) Ignoring your
      weakness makes defeat inevitable. (4) Satan has assigned certain
      people to feed your weakness. Be discerning! (5) Your weakness will
      be drawn to any friendship that accepts it, enjoys it and feeds on
      it. (6) Your weakness has an agenda: to take over your life and
      sabotage God's plan for you. (7) Your weakness will always bond with
      the wrong people and make you uncomfortable in the presence of the
      right ones. (8) Your weakness can emerge at any time, including your
      closing years. (9) Your weakness cannot be overcome by human
      reasoning or willpower. (10) God will permit you to enjoy success in
      various areas, even while your weakness is still operating within
      you. Why? Because He's long-suffering and merciful. (11) Your loved
      ones are praying for you to triumph over your weakness, because that
      glorifies God - and sends a message that they too can be victorious.
      (12) Overcoming your weakness brings great rewards. Listen: "As many
      as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent...
      To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I
      also overcame, and sat down with My Father on His throne" Revelation
      3:19-21. Understand this: God will not only help you to overcome
      your greatest weakness - but to turn it into your greatest weapon!
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