Every temptation is an opportunity to do good
Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ. This character, in part, encompasses the Fruit of the Spirit:~ Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. To have the Fruit of the Spirit is to be like Christ. God develops the Fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you are tempted to express the exact opposite qualities. Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity. You can’t claim to be good if you've never been tempted to be bad. Every time you defeat a temptation, you become more like Jesus!
HOW TEMPTATION WORKS
It helps to know that Satan is entirely predictable.
Satan identifies a desire inside of you and suggests (by thought) that you give in to an evil desire, or that you fulfill a legitimate desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. Temptation always starts in your mind, not in your circumstances.
Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about sin. You think, “Didn’t God mean this prohibition for someone else or some other time?” “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” – Doubts make you turn to evil ways and away from God.
Satan is the master of deception. He will try to deceive you by telling you untruths and half-truths to get you to bend a little. But a little sin is like being a little pregnant.
Satan promotes your disobedience. You know what is the right and obedient thing to do – but toy with the opposite thought in your mind. Satan takes what began as an idea and encourages you to birth it into disobedient behaviour.
+ REFUSE to be intimidated.
Many believers are frightened, demoralized, ashamed and overwrought by guilt because they realise that they are not beyond temptation – you will never outgrow temptation. Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you, not a sign of weakness or worldliness. It is not a sin to be tempted. You can’t keep the devil from suggesting thoughts, but you can choose not to dwell or act on them.
God made every one of us a sexual being, and that is good. Attraction and arousal are the natural, spontaneous, God-given responses to physical beauty; while lust is a deliberate act of the will.
The closer you grow to God, the more Satan will try to temp you – you are his enemy, and he’s plotting your downfall. Even while you are praying, Satan will suggest a bizarre or evil thought just to sidetrack or shame you – he fears your prayers. Treat these thoughts as distractions from Satan and immediately refocus on God.
+ RECOGNISE your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it.
Some circumstances will cause you to stumble almost immediately, while others don’t bother you at all. Satan surely knows exactly which ones make you more vulnerable. May be when you are tired or lonely or bored or depressed or under stress. Might be when you’ve been hurt or angry or worried, or even after a big success or spiritual high. Identify your typical pattern of temptation – the Bible tells us to anticipate and be ready to face temptation.
+ REQUEST God’s help.
God wants you to ask Him for assistance in overcoming temptation. The Bible guarantees that our cry for help will be heard; because Jesus is sympathetic to our struggle – He faced the same temptations we do. God’s infinite love is everlasting, and his patience endures forever. Ask Him for the power to do the right thing and then expect Him to provide it. Temptations keep us dependent upon God. When you stumble – which you will – look up to God, expect Him to help you and remember the reward that is waiting for you.
Keep the faith… I love you ~ Stafford
I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” -Isaiah 25:1