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Pointers along the way #444

Our temptations
- Jacob Ninan

We know how Satan tempted Eve in the garden. He first made her doubt the meaning of what God had said (Ge.3:1), went on to deny God's word (v.4), and to attribute bad motives to God's actions (v.5). At this point Eve had already moved out of her fortress of protection and stepped into Satan's arena. Then the forbidden fruit looked very attractive to her (v.6) and she yielded to the temptation.

Though these are common ingredients to us Christians also in our temptations, we may also have some additional elements to deal with that make us more vulnerable.

Aren't we tempted with the thought that God would forgive us anyway, even if we sin? We think of God as an embodiment of love and we expect that He would only show love to us by forgiving us our sins. Some of us even think that once we have been made children of God we cannot lose our salvation! But God's word warns us, "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" (Ro.6:15). Even though God recognises our weaknesses and provides for our repentance and return to Him (1Jn.2:1,2), there is no excuse for deliberately continuing to sin (He.10:26). Many mistakenly explain that just as when we are born naturally we cannot be 'unborn', we cannot cease to be children of God once we have been born again. The truth is that one is a physical birth, but the other is a spiritual relationship which is based on our faith, and will cease if we forsake our faith (Ro.11:20).

Sometimes we think that God understands our situation and our weaknesses and will 'understand' our failure if we choose to sin, quoting Heb.4:15. He certainly understands our weaknesses, and will forgive us if we repent and return to Him, asking Him for grace not to sin again (v.16). But God cannot be mocked by our 'words' of repentance if in our heart we don't really mean them.

These kinds of behaviour show us that we are actually treating the grace of God as if it is a cheap thing, or even taking it as a licence to sin (Jude.1:4). We forget what it cost God--His own Son--to make it available for us.

A reverential fear of God will turn us away from sinning (Pr.16:6). The more we recognise who God is and who we are before Him, we would fear to sin against Him. This is not about being scared of Him, but an enhanced form of respect towards Him. On the other hand, the more we recognise how much He has loved us in giving Himself for us so that we could be saved, we would draw back from grieving Him in any way by our life. We would also yield ourselves wholly to Him to love Him, to do His will and to glorify His name, which is the opposite of yielding to sin (Ro.6:13). A life given over to God is the best form of worship we can give Him (Ro.12:1).

The more we focus on loving God and seeking to serve Him by doing His will in every aspect of our life, the more strength we will find in battling with temptations. Then even if we fall, we will want to get back to Him quickly in repentance.


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