Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Dealing with Temptation

We all face temptation, sometimes on a daily basis. It is part of living in this corrupt, sinful world. There are so many things that can easily lure us away from the straight and narrow. It is so easy for us to just give into the allure of whatever we desire. The real question is what happens if we continue to fall prey to our earthly desires? Do we just give up and give in? The answer, of course, is no. But, we aren’t without power and the ability to call upon the Lord for strength. If you just go to Him in prayer, He will put a hedge of protection around you. You can easily call upon the Lord and command Satan to leave you alone.

All Christians face temptation regularly. Don’t believe that once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord that Satan will just leave you alone. For him, you are a prize. Satan would like nothing better than to have you turn your back on God and return to your life of sin. You noticed that in those few sentences that I didn’t say pull you away from God. 

Satan is really powerless to pull you away. He is a liar, cheat and deceiver. He can’t forcibly take you away from God, but he can whisper in your ear and put suggestions into your head. He can try all he wants, but he is completely powerless. God will always show you a way out of that temptation. It is all up to you to follow the path back to Him.

Paul, in chapter ten of his first letter to the Corinthians, writes, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

When we believe that we are capable of standing strong on our own, it is at that precise moment that Satan will strike like a venomous snake. Christians, like others, are tempted like others and aren’t exempt from it or from specific ways. Remember that Satan wants you to fall and become disobedient. His goal is simple. He wants you to walk away from God and turn your back to Him. But, you need to remember that God is always faithful and always available to you. The Father will fight hard to keep and protect His child. He will always provide you with the way out of temptation. However, it is solely up to you. 

In chapter fifteen of the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Without Jesus in our lives, we are nothing. We cannot save ourselves from temptation or from sin. It is only through him that we can be saved and we can go to the Father for whatever we need. When we remain faithful to Him, nothing is impossible, but we have to remember that it is through faith that we have that assurance. We are nothing without Him.

Another aspect to this is to remain vigilant. If you start to become complacent in your faith and relationship with the Lord, it is so easy for Satan to drive a wedge between you. The interesting thing about the wedge is that it is a self-induced wedge. You must make a conscious effort to start moving away from God.

As a child of God, He has opened heaven’s armory for you so that you are armed and ready for Satan. When you put on God’s armor and you maintain it, it will protect you from Satan’s daily assault on your relationship with the Lord.

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes, in chapter six, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Paul is very clear about what we need to do. Christians need to put on the armor. The first part is that we have to put it on. It is our decision to do that. The second part is that we must put all of it on. We can’t just pick bits and pieces of the armor. It all has to be put on because it gives us complete protection against the powers of darkness. 

Armor also requires regular maintenance. Your faith keeps it strong and impenetrable to the slings and arrows of Satan and his demons. But, you must remember that this armor comes from God. It is not armor that you created or built. As a child of God, we receive His strength each and every day. He provides for your needs and loves you. It is only through Jesus that we can receive this power, strength and ability to firmly stand your ground.

The other way for you to avoid temptation is to focus on the things that are higher and things that are nobler. You cannot focus on the things of the world. When you start focusing on the things of the world, it doesn’t take a lot of time before you are seduced by the things of this world.

Paul writes in chapter three of his letter to the Colossians, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

So, I say to you the same thing. Don’t look at the things of this world. When you do that, you risk spiritual death and separation from the Father. Concentrate on the things of God. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you began a new life and a closer walk with the Lord. 

So, when you face temptation, ask God for protection and the wisdom to see God’s path for you to get out of temptation. Remain vigilant and never let your guard down. Satan looks for every opportunity to cause you to fall. When you begin to believe that you alone are invulnerable to temptation, that’s when Satan begins to sneak quickly and quietly into your life. 

When you maintain your God-given armor through prayer and daily study of His word, you can stand firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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