No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Feeling lost isn’t new to the society we’re in. It’s the result of ‘doing our own thing’, which human beings have done everywhere at every point in history. Giving in to temptation ends up leaving you dejected and fed up. But: everyone gets tempted. Others have resisted; and so can you. God, your God, will show you a way out.
Great, but what does that help look like? The first practical tip is recognizing which people and situations can cause you to fail badly. Be honest. Secondly, get-outta-there. Change the channel and choose not to give in to your feelings. Make a phone call. Get accountable. Pray. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there and attempt to fight it with your own willpower. Maybe turning to someone outside of yourself feels the same as giving up. But the first thing Christianity teaches us is that every one of us, on our own, will fail when left to our own devices. It’s absolutely valid – and a much better option – to look outside yourself and to God, even when all you feel is the desire to sin. Look to God, because He’s bigger than our own drive to do wrong. Turn to friends who you trust and that love you, and who will stand with you.
And, when you see one of these exit routes, take it. Ways out can be here one second and gone the next. Don’t miss out on stepping out of temptation, and into God’s better life.
Heavenly Father, help me to remove myself from temptation – and when I can’t to seek help in temptation – through You and other Godly people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8
Capability without character is a lethal combination. Just look to some of the celebrities who are ruined by drugs, money, or pride. When your time on planet earth is up, it’s not your career but your character that goes with you. Christ-like character is what God wants you to grow in most of all.
But what does character actually look like? You could say it’s doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. A pat on the back from people is fine, but watch out that you’re not riding the wave of people-approval; you never know when the compliments could come to a crashing halt. Obviously, the best example of character is found in the life of Jesus.
But how do we make that part of our lives? Peter fleshes it out for us like this: ‘Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone’ (2 Peter 1:5-8). Your faith in Christ has to be more than belief in certain facts; it needs to result in action and growth, otherwise it could begin to wither.
Heavenly Father, help remind me daily that I am to be more and more like You each day so I can reflect You to others who do not know You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Just the Good Stuff
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance — Proverbs 1:5
Here’s a key point to take from yesterday: actually growing as a Christian will involve walking away from things that might look good and feel good, but aren’t actually ‘good’ in God’s eyes. Ignoring that warning God’s giving you will lead to bitter aftertaste of disappointment, distraction or complacency. Has your focus ever shifted from living God’s ways? Thought so. Happens to all of us. How can we ‘grow on’?
Well, some of the MOST important things God wants to teach you go way beyond any knowledge you can learn and repeat exam-style. Our God-given passions and talents can often only be learned through experiencing tough times head-on. But would you rather experience triumph over that thing that held you back from God, or let things ‘blow over’ (which is often an excuse for letting complacency control you)?
Choosing to learn from these experiences is important. We all have talents, but unless you work on those God-given gifts, you’ll never know what could have been. Paul encouraged a young Timothy to, ‘Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you’ (1 Timothy 1:6). It wasn’t the time for asking for fresh revelations (see verse 13); it was time to stick with what he’d already learned. It’s time to work with the most of what we’ve got, and where we are.
Prayer Heavenly Father, help me sort through the things that help me grow and those that don’t – and do the things that do! In Jesus’ Name, AmenRead more...
When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:13
The Apostle Paul was on another level, right? He finds himself locked up in prison, about to meet His maker; but instead of counting down the time till he meets Jesus face to face, he’s arranging private Bible studies: ‘When you come bring my scrolls.’ (2 Timothy 4:13) Even at the end of his rope, Paul understood the importance of knowing God. He wasn’t satisfied with the memories of the good old days and all the adventures of the past, he was hungry for God until the very end. For Paul, growing and learning were a continual journey, not a destination.
Chances are you’ve taken an exam or ten. You might think they’re so stressful that you’ll avoid anything that resembles an exam paper for the rest of your life. But life-long learning is a reality you can’t escape if you’re going to move into everything God has for you. Staying as you are isn’t a viable option. Imagine a thirty year old man still drinking milk from a baby’s bottle (Try Hebrews 5:12). It doesn’t matter where you are or who you are, the point remains: God wants you to grow, to flourish, to get better.
Thinking about how we’re ‘small fish in a big sea’ in the scheme of creation should help you to realize you have growing room. When we kid ourselves into thinking we don’t need to learn any more about God, we lose a sense of wonder about the possibilities of what we can become in God.
Heavenly Father, help me to continue to learn new things about You, and me and others and this world You created. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
When We Hurt Ourselves
When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Mark 5:15
You might have read about one of Jesus’ craziest miracles – healing a man controlled by evil spirits. ‘His dwelling [was] among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains…neither could anyone tame him …always, night and day, he was…crying out and cutting himself with stones’ (Mark 5:3-5). As creepy as some of that sounds, there’s plenty of stuff we can relate to there.
1) He kept hurting himself. He used stones to do it, but some of us use drugs, porn/sex, alcohol, overwork and negativity. What do you keep at that hurts you? Don’t be complacent with what’s destroying you. 2) He was preoccupied with death. The guy lived in a graveyard. OK, that might be something you’d never do, but mentally, where are you? Living without purpose needs to be addressed – a troubled mind can bring you to the place where you lose even your desire to live. 3) He had no peace, day or night. The downside of Godless living is restlessness, irritability and discontent. Nothing satisfies or is ever enough. 4) He lived in isolation. Satan’s job is made easier when you don’t have a spiritual support system. Getting linked with other believers wrecks his plans.
OK, then what? Well, Jesus showed up. When Jesus shows up, things change, things we thought way beyond our ability to change. He healed him back to his ‘right mind’. This guy went from one end of the scale to another, just from an encounter with Jesus. Don’t put off your appointment with Him.
Heavenly Father, I know You are here, always have, I want to give you FULL access to my life for You to do what only You can do. In Your Precious Name, Amen