The Truth About Trouble

When we think about the disciples and all they gave-up, all they went through for the sake of Jesus Christ, we are truly awed. And my admiration is likely highest for John the beloved who was boiled twice, banished, with his eyes put out reminds us that we all aboard the USS Humanity by the gangway of birth booked on the common passage marked mankind. 

Surely he was tempted in the midst of great adversity, yet in each and every temptation the Lord makes it possible for us to bear whatever comes our way. Even Jesus, when He was tempted by Satan, did not yield, rather our Lord responded in each temptation by standing on and utilizing the holy scriptures.

James reveals to us in James 1:13~When tempted, no one should say, God, is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (NIV) So, being tempted is a natural part of living in a sin-cursed and fallen world. The good news is, Hebrews 4:15~For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. (NIV)

Temptation is common to us all. What is not common in our world, is not yielding to temptation. Therefore, when temptation comes, we must be ready. How? We ready ourselves by knowing what traps us, trips us, or ensnares us? The Greek word is (εὐπερίστατος euperistatos). When did I play risk with you? Hebrews 12:1~Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders (εὐπερίστατος euperistatos) us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. (JBP) Saint of God, we must know ourselves. Do you have a type? What tempts us? 

In each and every temptation the Lord provides us a way of escape. That is our verse. 1 Corinthians 10:13~No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV) You, me, we are all able to bear temptation knowing God has made a way of escape because of Christ in us. 

So, no matter what attempts to trap you, trip you, or cause you to stumble in life, the Lord has a way for you to not fall. His hope is that you will trust in Him, stand firmly on His Word, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who is our guide. The Sacrament of Living demands that we understand our temptations, which means knowing ourselves well enough to know that we indeed do have a type.

Today, let’s spend some time asking the Lord to help us in those areas that we seem to struggle in. As you tune in to His voice, start practicing your surrendered response to the Holy Spirit. You will be amazed at how God helps you in every situation.

Overcoming Temptation

What if I told you that all temptations fall into one of three categories. 1 Corinthians 10:13~No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)

So, do you have a type? In life, we have many propensities. Our natural tendencies or leanings of the flesh and mind attempt to sway us in seemingly sundry directions, always away from God. Some wrestle with nature versus nurture, as our flesh has a way that seems right, but ultimately it will lead us to destruction. (Proverbs 14:10) That is why the New Testament reminds us that when we come to Jesus, kneeling at Calvary, confessing our sin, what we are truly doing, is dying to self.

Galatians 2:19-21~For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. (NKJ)

Thus life, in all of its living, is to be lived in Jesus Christ, who died for us. He died in our place. This means as we live in this world we will not face any temptation that does not come from the same three categories of sin, that Jesus was tempted by. (Luke 4:1-13) Luke records the three temptations Jesus faced, while John categorizes them in his first epistle. 1 John 2:16~For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV)

Let’s breakdown the three categories of sin? Sin Category #1—The Lust of the flesh: sexual sins, gossip, violence, drug usage, etc. Sin Category #2—The Lust of the Eye: coveting what isn’t ours (think material possessions, people, family) 2 Samuel 11 shares a fine example exposing David and that woman. This is looking at what does not benefit us, pornography, status, appearance for visual appeal. Sin Category #3—The Pride of Life: desiring God’s credit or glory, desiring positions, titles, or bragging rights, which puff us up, making us think more highly of ourselves than we ought. (Romans 12:3) Even desiring to be worshiped. I am great! Sure, you are really, I mean you are something, but still, we all need to know our place in God.

As you reflect today on what you may struggle with in your life, I want to encourage you to ask God for help. He already knows the tender areas of our lives and is ready and willing to help us, for the asking. John 14:13-14~Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (ESV) So, instead of doing the usual dance around, or putting our best foot forward, why not take the scripture at face value and ask God for a little help. 

Holy Living

As we approach our final chapter of Redeemed, a study of Pursuing God, I hope that you have felt challenged in your faith to pursue after God. Philippians 3:12~Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (ESV) To apprehend the joy of His presence to floods and fill our lives. 

There’s nothing like the joy of being in the presence of the one we love. And this week many will attempt to rival that in some way, gathering around tables to give thanks. I hope that as you give thanks to the Lord you’ll be intentional in sharing gratitude, especially in a very difficult year. This week we turn attention to the Sacrament of Living. A sacrament is something done to impart grace, that is received fruitfully. When we come to the table we do so in remembrance of Jesus. This carved phrasing on many communion tables is taken from Paul’s imparted blessing in 1 Corinthians 11:24~when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. (NIV)

What we are remembering at that moment and hopefully never getting over is that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. The Millers remind us in song O what love, No greater love, Grace, how can it be,  That in my sin, Yes, even then, He shed His blood for me. The precious blood of Jesus is enough. It is enough to cover every sin, the blood is enough to cleanse all unrighteousness. The blood of Jesus is enough to heal all ailments, sickness, and disease. Not only does the blood cover and cleanse us, but it speaks a better word. Hebrews 12:24~to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (ESV) Jesus has given to us an impartation of grace.

In Christ alone is new life is given by the grace of God. That we would no longer live to self, but wholly unto God. Let’s unpack what’s happened to us in light of placing our faith in God. 2 Corinthians 5:17~This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT) In Christ, God has given us new life and we are to be fruitful in this new life, bringing glory to God. (John 15:8) New life comes by an impartation of divine grace from God, and it’s meant to propel us in the Sacrament of Living.

With that picture of remembrance, what God’s grace did for us in Jesus Christ now hanging on the wall of our mind today, I want you to ask the Lord to whom can I share what Jesus Christ has done? When He lays someone on your heart, then ask how you can connect with them in humble participation. Let God speak and guide you and watch as He does amazing things through your life.