Overcoming Temptation- Do You Have An Escape Route?
By Brad Hewey
Everyone struggles with overcoming temptation, but as Brad points outs: “the closer we are to the Lord, the more we will reach out to him to aid us…”
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Fast Food Fix
If you’re like me, the fast food signs and convenience store specials are very tempting on the drive in, or the drive home from work. The $6 deluxe cheeseburger meals, the slice of pizza and a pop. They make it so easy to just swing through the drive-through and grab a tasty meal, even though you’re only minutes away from a good supper at home. These are of course minor temptations, but we can all relate to how powerful and deliciously tempting they are, especially when we’re hungry. Succumbing to temptations like fast food fixes, probably isn’t going to noticeably affect us morally, financially, or spiritually. But the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, setting traps that we might fall into temptations that have serious consequences.
Satan And Temptation
Christians are bombarded with temptations every day. Social media and television ads, billboards, people and things that cross our path, and our own struggles with the flesh. Ahhh, the smell of a new car. It’s pretty alluring. There are even air fresheners on the market that have captured the scent; a blend of leathers, fabrics, and polymers. It’s very tempting to shell out for that flashy 2017 model. But many get themselves into serious financial trouble as a result of overspending, reaching beyond what can be afforded.
New vehicles, pleasure boats, designer label clothes, new appliances, a cottage in the country. Succumbing to the temptation for material things can often lead us into trouble. Huge financial burdens result in heavier work commitments, a strain on marriages, family, and other relationships. Financial pressures can often end marriages, and wreck a family. How subtle is Satan at putting temptation before us! And what about temptations appealing to the immoral or even the illegal? Pornography, adultery, gambling, tax evasion, drug use? Satan knows what to put in front of each person. If your marriage is solid, but alcohol is a weakness, then alcohol will be a frequent temptation that rears its head. Satan knows that yielding to temptation in one area can spiral into other areas, wreaking havoc on all fronts.
Look at how temptation brought such pain and shame to King David. Not only did he succumb to the temptation of adultery with Bathsheba, but this escalated to the act of arranging the murder and elimination of her husband, that he might be with her in a sustained relationship.
The Roots Of Temptation
Sometimes we forget how deeply rooted is the aspect of temptation in relation to the whole of mankind. We can trace temptation and the fall of man, to the story of creation. We read in Genesis that the very first act of sin was born out of temptation. God in love created Adam and Eve, placing them in a perfect setting. Did God then tempt them? Never! James 1:13 says that “God tempts no man, neither can God be tempted”.
Yes, we know who the tempter was, and we know he is the same today. Gen 3:1 says; “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan tempted Eve, and subsequently Adam, over the proposition that they surely had the right to eat of any fruit of their choosing. We have there recorded, the first instance of temptations power to bring calamity and grief where there was once harmony and grace.
How amazing to consider, that God in his form as Son of Man, as Jesus, allowed Satan to put temptation before him. Oh the wicked attempts of Satan, and the things he put before our Lord. These were his best attempts that the Son of Man might give into the powers being offered. But with each temptation, Jesus pronounced the word of GOD on Satan, rendering Satans efforts as futile; displaying Jesus own omnipotence, deity, and his complete and glorious holiness.
How important for us to draw on the power and strength of Gods holy word, to wield a sword against the fiery darts the tempter readily throws our way. We are encouraged to “put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. There is no greater way to protect from the onslaught of alluring desires than to apply the word of God.
There’s a powerful verse in 1st Corinthians our congregation has recently sought to commit to memory. 1 Cor1 0:13 says, “there hath no temptation taken you, but such that is common to man; but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way for you to escape, that ye might be able to bear it”.
As we ponder these words, we see there are real jewels of reassurance to be found. First and foremost, it’s awesome to know that any temptation you’re experiencing, it’s nothing different from what others have already, or are currently experiencing. Satan loves to have us wallow in shame and self-doubt. It keeps us from restoration with the father, and with fellow believers. But we’re here reminded that temptations you or I am experiencing, are not unique.
The verse goes on to say that God is faithful, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. Wow! Even in moments of sinful thought or deed, “God’s ear is not heavy that he cannot hear”. He will not allow temptation to be greater than what our own personal strength can bear. Oh what love. He makes a way of escape, that we might overcome and alter our steps, that we do not become engulfed and ensnared by the trap set before us. All we need do is give it to God.
It’s important to note that encountering or experiencing temptation is not sin. Clearly, Jesus did not enter into sin by the presentation of Satans offers. It’s the giving into, or participation in the act, which bears temptations fruit. In James, we read, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”.
Focus On God
As with all aspects of our Christian walk, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we will reach out to him to aid us in quelling temptations fires, staying the waters, calming the storms. “Less of me, and more of thee” is what John implies. These are wonderful words to bring clarity. When we’re sliding in our relationship with God and with fellow believers; the temptations of this world will effectively worm their way back into our lives.
When temptation comes calling, let’s arm ourselves with the power of Christ, whose spirit dwells inside each believer.
The hymn writer so aptly wrote: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of HIS glory and grace”.
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith-affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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HopeStreamRadio has been a huge blessing to me. Since I moved away from an area that had a lot of good Christian radio I have been looking for a station that I could listen to and be encouraged by. HSR has filled that void and it has also been exciting to be a part of the team that contributes to HSR.Mike from MS