Temptation Is Real

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Temptation is Real |All around me, I see that temptation is real, and the fallout is serious sin| #ChristianPodcast #Christian #podcast #AFewMinutesWithGod #temptationisrealTemptation is Real ~ Episode 245

All around me, I see that temptation is real, and the fallout is serious sin. But friends, we cannot become complacent, even if we are walking with the Lord; this podcast explores the meaning of temptation as it applies to our lives and what the Scriptures say.

One of our pastors reminds us that faith is not just a feeling but an action. This is true on so many levels. It is a choice, and I must decide whether I will follow the Lord or myself each day. What do you think temptation means? Does temptation mean doing something wrong, perhaps allowing ourselves to be swayed by the evil one? Something that is sinful or self-destructive? Each of us struggles with temptation of some sort, whether it is food, overindulgence in alcohol, laziness, or slothfulness. We don’t even need to leave home to be tempted.

Some believe their faith will save them from sin, which is only partially correct. Yes, faith helps, absolutely, but faith can also be used as an excuse to fall into depression, with the idea, “How could God allow that to happen to me?”  Our faith is like a shield, but the decision is ultimately ours to choose correctly. Sometimes our trials are overwhelming, and it is our faith that keeps us together, that keeps us whole. Why do we want to avoid temptation? Maybe this verse will give us the needed nudge.

Ephesians 2:3 (Read on Air) –

Who wants to be known as a child of wrath? The early Christians had their eyes opened, and then, afterward, they were aware of their sin. Once they were infilled with the Holy Spirit, this wisdom from the Lord allowed them to see the sin they did not think was an issue beforehand. The early Christians taught others. The words which we read in the Bible are powerful and obviously came from God.  We are taught the Word of God pierces our hearts like a two-edged sword and is convicting, and those words made an impact and changed lives. In the busyness of this world, we must make the time to allow those words to also penetrate our hearts so that our eyes can be opened. This doesn’t mean we are free from temptation, only that we can identify and avoid it.

We have all sinned, and we have all been tempted. Some of us are stronger than others at avoiding sin, and God knows our hearts. He hears our prayers and knows our weaknesses, but sadly so does the enemy. In the last podcast, I discussed a hardened heart. A hardened heart is us being stubborn; we want what we want. When we follow our own path and our own inclinations, sometimes we stumble or take the wrong turn; how do we avoid this regarding temptation?

An aside here, those who are stronger at avoiding temptation do several things,

  1. They pray and seek God, whether it is in the Bible, in talking to the Lord
  2. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people and attending church.
  3. Put on the armor of Christ; this means putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit—Ephesians 6:11-17 (read on air).
  4. Identify your weaknesses and avoid them. Not falling into temptation means avoiding the near occasion of sin.
  5. Pray against temptation with a simple prayer such as, “Lord, forgive me for my sins in thought, word, and deed.”

In Proverbs  28:14 (read on air)

Let’s look at that passage, how can you guard yourself? Take a few moments and think about this…guarding yourself means being aware, to avoid occasions of sin. This can mean so many things; it can mean avoiding people you know are trouble. I read a funny meme on social media that had a picture of two women, and it said, “partners in crime,” Then it went on to say, “If we get caught, I am deaf, and you do not speak English.” While it might make us smile, it reminds me that there are people I should avoid, and while that doesn’t make us popular, it is important. In college, I was called “mom” because my friends said taking me out with them reminded me of having their mom with them! All those years at the feet of my Italian grandmother and learning from my parents that faith was more than a building we attended Mass at; it was a lifestyle. Something that can be eroded with the wrong influence but should not be forgotten.

Our pastor said he was with a group of people at a social gathering, and one man began to tell an inappropriate joke, so he excused himself and began to walk away. He said he was not allowing himself to be put into this awkward position, but that same man came to him later, apologized, and recognized this was an area of weakness. He wanted to be liked and noticed by others, and he thought this was one way to do it. He was counseled that it was not!

James 1:12 – the trials of temptation while all around us and can be a source of struggle we must pray that we are spared and pray for fortitude and strength – Blessed is the man who perseveres when he is tempted, for when he has been proven, he will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

It is not easy, and no one said life is easy. Some think that becoming a Christian should come with blessings and rewards. It does, but not always in the way we want. A Christian walks the road less traveled, which may make you unpopular with friends, but in my case, my friends (the same ones who called me “Mom”) elected me as president of our sorority and other council positions. Did they want someone responsible, or did they want the party girl? Sure, responsibility comes with a price, and it is up to us to do the best we can, but unfortunately, that best depends on what we know. We can’t be expected to avoid temptation when we can’t identify it or if we don’t care. That is part of the problem in the Catholic and Christian circles, the “church” has been blamed for the failure of educating the youth, but I truly believe the education of Christian morals and values belongs totally in the home. Do your children know the Bible? Did you teach them about the lives of godly men and women, those who the Bible and we call saints? Do children know the difference between Noah and Moses? I had a class of 7th graders tell me that Noah was the one with the parted red sea. We had to do a quick overview of Bible history.

I was blessed to grow up with Bible stories instead of fairy tales, and I learned my Bible history at home. My faith was praying with my family for every little thing – faith by example. So, as Christians, we are called to a higher standard. I’m talking about myself as well as all of you.

Matthew 6 is the Lord’s prayer, and the last part states… and do not lead us into temptation… We are delivered by our awareness and decision, and that is faith. Faith is a decision.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his apostles to stay awake for one hour, but unfortunately, they were unable, yet he said in Matthew 26:41 (Read on air.)

Our flesh is weak, and the enemy knows how to tempt us, especially if we try fasting. Fasting calls to mind our prayer whenever we want to eat the food. When we avoid that food, we learn how to pray specifically and avoid temptation—avoiding the food instead of eating it.

One of the podcasts I listen to is Wholeness and Holiness – and recently, the topic was “Into the Desert with Jesus.

She discussed sin and temptation in the desert when the enemy was with the Lord, and he said, “If you are the Son of God.” In other words, Jesus, do you know who you are? In this way, the enemy was trying to trick the Lord into proving He is the Son of God – Jesus knows His identity; he does not need to prove it.

When we don’t know who we are, when we give into temptation, it is because we have lost our identity. We either do not have confidence in who we are or think that doing whatever temptation will fix the issue. For example, a young person who gives into peer pressure by doing drugs or drinking alcohol to fit in – because everyone else is doing it.

If we are confident in our identity, if we know we are indeed sons and daughters of the Almighty, we are part of a Holy Family, then we don’t need those things to make us feel better about ourselves.

This is part of the relationship with God – if we are confident in our relationship, we will be strong. If we believe that God is there and we are here, he is a loving and distant God, then that won’t work in the here and now.

Friends, we as Christians have been given a powerful tool: the understanding that God is with us; he is for us, so who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (Read on air.) Who Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ? What, then, can we say in response to all this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

We need to shore up the troops, get your family on board, be united instead of divided, and conquer the issue head-on. If you are struggling with something major, ask your family to help.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (read on air).

I have asked the Lord for help when I have felt that I could not handle it anymore when things were hard. The temptation was a spiritual one, and that was negativity to give in to self-pity, or depression, to feel that no one cares and I was in “this” alone. Have you been there? Have you been in the depths of despair without a way out? One of the biggest issues for the elderly is loneliness. In the past, there were multi-generational families. I feel that this is a missing element in our family life today.

We may struggle with certain sins and temptations; these are ones we should identify and become aware of; in a past podcast, I shared an episode called Victory Over Sin and discussed these issues and the trap we fall into.

I want to leave you with this encouragement from 1 John 1-2

Avoiding temptation is a blessing, and it makes us stronger. And I pray this helps you make wise and beneficial decisions for your journey with the Lord.

 

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