Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Antidote For Temptation

Pop Quiz:  Where is God?  While this probably isn’t very difficult for you, here’s a hint:  Where has He made for Himself a perfect place to live?  Where is He most happy to be right now? 

He is in you.  That’s His big thrill!  When you received Him, He actually came in—Surprise!—fully capable, ready to show Himself perfect with you and in you.  How cool is that?

So it’s an amazing act of faith to offer yourself to God, who is now inside, to appeal to Him and call to Him in the beginning or middle or even the end of temptation.  God is excellent with you during temptation.  After all, He’s famously familiar with it, right?

(Hebrews 2:18) “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

That would be me!  Isn’t it you, too?

So please don’t be shy with God during temptation.  There’s no need to draw away from Him in presumed shame—it’s not from Him.  He is great to know during temptation!  He’s your very best friend, and the one who’ll keep all your secrets—you’re entirely safe with Him.  He is patient with you.  He knows the great truth about you—what a fantastic new creation you are—and He always serves you lovingly with the truth. 

By the way, why do we believe that stupid lie that “The truth hurts”?  No it doesn’t!  Not with Him.  Not when He knows what He has done for you through the cross and resurrection, bringing you into Himself, and making you new and clean and holy and forever secure.  The truth helps!  It saves us!  You were made for it, and He’s just the one to give it to you.  That’s a little bit important to know when you’re suffering temptation, right?

Jesus knows what it is to be tempted by a pile of money, a naked woman or a naked man, a bottle of alcohol, the opportunity to cheat in order to get ahead in the task at hand, or by the suggestion of a lie that might seemingly make a relationship go better.  He knows what all that stuff is like, how it wears heavily upon us, sometimes conquering us.  And Jesus remains loving and perfect with you and me.  He is the antidote for all of that struggle.  And, if we need it, He is the recovery we seek.

Whatever is tempting you, whether fear, lust, covetousness, envy, pride—whatever—how excellent it is to offer yourself to God, now inside.  You’ve got to know that the angels rejoice whenever they see us doing that, not only because they know that recovery is beginning and that we believe that Christ is inside of us (we’re living by faith), but they also know that our friendship with God is getting better and deeper.  I think they love that.

So instead of making pledges that we’ll be strong, when fear or lust or disappointment rage against us, that’s especially when we move toward Him.  When covetousness (for example) begins hammering away at us, we don’t make promises of obedient avoidance; we stay tight with our Friend.  He frees us from that ugly, ungodly, uncharacteristic thing, and our friendship is deepened.

“Savior!  I know you’re in me, so I look to you for your ability and grace; for the way that you are.  You’re what I need.”  Lo and behold, He who now calls us home, sees to what’s going on inside of the house.  What a concept!  Imagine Jesus one day long ago saying, “Hey!  Here’s an idea.  I’ll live in them and be Myself!”  In my mind(!), that’s about how it went.

He who finds no fault with us—none—recognizes the assault going on inside of us, and He takes the blows and turns the fight.  Afterward?  We’re left with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  That’s how He is, and that’s what He is like inside you and me.   It’s God Himself showing off in you and me.  And we’re the happy audience.

So when temptation strikes at you, don’t go it alone.  Go to Him—in here—and He’ll see to you.

Romans 6:11-14 says:  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  (Italics mine.)

And so you are.  See you later.

(This is a transcript of Friday night’s video, “The Antidote For Temptation,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  Want to see the video?  Click  By the way, you are free to share this message in any way you like.)

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