Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How can we effectively guard against temptation?

2 Samuel 11:2-4

All temptations begin with a single thought. We have the ability to choose to ignore it or to allow it to remain in our minds. If it remains, more than likely it will gain a foothold within us. Temptations in and of itself is not sinful. It entices us to sin and to disobey God. If not checked, it leads to disappointment, failure, rejection, isolation, and a host of other consequences. The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to screen, select, admit, and cultivate what goes into our minds. By His power, we can prevent our minds from taking a wrong turn and wandering into evil, but we must choose to focus on what is godly and good (Phil. 4:8).

Through Christ we also have the ability to choose how we will think about what we perceive with our senses. While we have no control over some things that come into our field of vision or within our range of hearing, we do control how we will think about what we perceive or sense and how we will act on that information.

For example, David saw Bathsheba. One night he was out walking on his balcony, and while surveying the city below, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. That could have been the end of the story. But it turned out quite differently for David. Without question, he could have turned and walked back into his palace and thought nothing more about what he had seen.

Instead, he began to think about Bathsheba. He allowed his heart to be tempted and he dismissed the Lord’s command to avoid adultery. Instead, he rushed to sin and “inquired about the woman” (2 Sam.11:3). More than likely, he imagined what it would be like to get closer to her and what it might be like to be with her physically. Eventually, he sent for her and sinned against God. David suffered serious consequences as a result of his decision. This one act of disobedience followed him the rest of his life. While he sought God’s forgiveness and received it, the shadow of his sin never vanished from his life or the lives of his family members who followed him.

When things come into our range of sensation or perception, we must immediately evaluate them through the “filter” of God’s word. 

If we find ourselves dwelling on a thought, we must ask ourselves, 
  • Why am I thinking this? 
  • What is at the root of my thoughts? 
  • What will happen if I continue to think this way? 
  • Is that really the direction I want my life to go?
Never act on ungodly impulses, desires, and lusts. You can choose to think godly thoughts, act according to His will, and “do all [things] to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Taken from May 20, page 632
The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible: 
Biblical Principles for Each Day of the Year 
NASB version

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