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Everybody experiences temptation. No matter how spiritual you are or how long you’ve followed Christ, you have been tempted. Sometimes this experience seems like a faint whisper, and other times it’s an unbearable shout in your mind.
Regardless of how it sounds, you know just what temptation feels like. But if someone asked, could you define the term?
Temptation is simply an enticement to take a God-given desire beyond God-given boundaries. Many people reject this idea, refusing to believe that guilt-instilling allurements could be even remotely related to the Lord.
But think about it: In what ways are you most often tempted? In the area of material possessions? Intimacy? Companionship? Food? These are all things that God not only created but also uses to bless His people. The problem comes when we—who still carry around the old ‘programming’ of our flesh nature—take those drives beyond the healthy limits that God has set for our lives.
For example, He created sex for enjoyment within a marriage relationship. However, when this divinely approved desire is corrupted by physical intimacy outside of marriage, then what the Creator designed for His purposes becomes a source of guilt and shame. That is not what God intended.
One of the enemy’s top strategies is to distort a God-given drive for his own vile purposes.
You can short-circuit such an attack: Remind yourself where this urge came from in the first place, and then ask God for the strength to use such drives for His glory, as He intended.
The Lord gives every person a conscience, which is like a radar system meant to send warnings when a behavior or decision might be harmful. This makes it possible for people to distinguish between what is morally right and morally wrong, especially as it applies to their own life. We ignore the conscience at our own peril.
In a believer, the conscience is a tool of the Holy Spirit; He programs it with principles from God’s Word and sharpens it to respond quickly. Even so, our radar’s sole purpose is to send a signal. What happens next is up to us. Either we ignore the warning, or we stop to hear what the Spirit has to say about the situation.
The Holy Spirit reveals God’s will or reminds us of His principles so we can make a wise decision about the warning bell ringing in our conscience. Paul’s letter to Timothy mentions people who’d rejected God’s leadership and guidance in their lives—they had paid no attention to the alarm of their conscience (1 Tim. 1:19), and the result was shipwrecked faith.
When something appears on the radar that speaks of disobedience to God, we have to reject that action. Otherwise, the detection device becomes impaired and won’t work right. If we keep ignoring the alarm, it will eventually go silent.
We all know people who have ‘run aground’ in life. A shipwrecked faith is inevitable when believers ignore their conscience and rationalize or defend disobedience. It’s far better to turn yourself over to the great captain of your soul, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit will guide you correctly.
Having been saved by faith in Christ, we express our love and gratitude through devotion to Him. Regular Bible study and prayer should be an integral part of our daily routine. In addition, our commitment to the Lord will be revealed through a passion to obey, a spirit of humility, and a heart for service.
Obedience. David sought to obey God all his life. As a shepherd boy, he faithfully tended the animals in his father’s fields. While king, he set aside his desire to build the temple and let Solomon lead the effort, as God had commanded. Although David lived imperfectly, his desire was to do what the Lord asked. We see from Jesus’ words in John 14:15 that obedience should be our high priority as well: He said, ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’
Humility. After David killed Goliath, the crowds shouted praise about the young man. However, he did not become prideful. Instead, he remained in King Saul’s service and waited for God to make him the ruler of Israel. Even as king, he remained humble. He knew that what had been accomplished was because of the Lord’s actions and not his own (2 Sam. 7:18).
Service. Whether David was a lowly shepherd or a mighty king, his goal was to obey God and serve Him.
This man after God’s own heart was fully devoted to his Lord. He sought to know Him and longed to carry out His will. David’s actions reflected His humble attitude of servanthood and a longing to please his heavenly Father.
Take steps each day to be sure your life expresses commitment to Jesus.
Mankind has a debt problem. In the physical world, our desire for a higher standard of living and more stuff has led to burdensome credit card balances and unwieldy mortgage payments.
The weight of what we owe can cause restless nights and the feeling that we’re trapped. We long for someone to rescue us from the mess we have made.
When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, His atoning work is credited to our account. We become children of God and co-heirs with Christ as we’re changed from debtors to inheritors. (See 1 Peter 1:3-4.)
Let the knowledge of His sacrifice on the cross permeate every aspect of your life—your thinking, attitude, and choices.
If you had the power to change your circumstances, would you? Since no one has a life without problems, most of us would immediately say yes. However, the reality is that we must learn to live with some of our difficult circumstances, because only God has the power to alter them—and in His providence, He’s allowed them to remain.
Take the apostle Paul, for example. He had a desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel but didn’t anticipate the route God would use to bring him there. It began with false accusations in Jerusalem, an appeal to Caesar, a rough sea voyage, and a shipwreck and eventually included time spent in a Roman prison.
This was probably not what Paul had envisioned, but as he sat chained to a Roman guard, he wrote the following words to the church in Philippi: ‘My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel’ (Phil. 1:12).
The very circumstance that may have seemed like an unfair misfortune became the avenue for fruitful service.
What looks like a shipwreck or detour in our plans could actually be God’s ordained path for our lives. It may include financial challenges, health issues, relational conflicts, or any number of other hardships, but there is one certainty to which we can cling: Jesus Christ is our life, and He never changes. Conditions around us will fluctuate, but if we belong to Christ, He’ll use every situation to accomplish His will in and through us.
Even when we face matters of life and death, we can share Paul’s desire—that Christ would be exalted in us, whether through life or death.
Acts 3 v 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
Jesus never condemns beggars, He is clear that defects are not “earned” because of sin (John 9:1–7). The healing of the lame is a sign that the Messiah has come (Isaiah 35:6). Healed,or not, the lame are welcome into God’s kingdom (Luke 14:21).
The “Beautiful Gates” location is uncertain. Being a “gate of the temple” doesn’t mean that it goes directly into the building; the phrase “the temple” is often used to mean the entire top of the Temple Mount. Some think it is one of the gates in the temple itself, but no other source mentions “the Beautiful Gate.” It is unclear if the lame were allowed into the temple though many believe they may have been banned. When David first captured Jerusalem, the inhabitants “Jebusites” mocked that the lame and blind could fight off his army. After his victory, the saying, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house” became popular, but this refers to Jebusites, not actual blind and lame people (2 Samuel 5:6–8). Men who were lame were not allowed to be priests (Leviticus 21:17–18), but the Mosaic law doesn’t forbid the lame from entering the temple as worshipers.