Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Musings: 09/15/09, Temptation and Responsibility, by John

Temptation and Responsibility

Sometimes I find myself saying to God in prayer, "I'm sorry, Father. I just couldn't help myself." Have you ever said something like that to God? This morning, I wasn't praying exactly, but I was contacting our Father about things in general, and suddenly I Corinthians 10:12 popped into my consciousness. I learned it in the King James Version of the Bible, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." The New International Version translates it, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

The fact is, none of us is able to resist temptation on our own. The writer knew by his own experience that temptations arise in everyone's life, and we cannot handle them! That's the reason the NIV translated that verb as "has seized." By the time we know we were tempted, we've already plunged into sin's domain! But we didn't have to do it. God has seen to it that there is an open escape route every time we have ever sinned. The Greek word used here is a combination of the preposition "ek" which has the basic meaning of "out of" or "away from," and "basin" which essentially means "pace." It could be translated as "walk away." Hmmm. There hasn't been a single time that we could not have walked away from our temptations!

That brings us to our responsibility. We've already sinned. Jesus is our Payment. He died for us bearing our sins on His cross for us. Our responsibility is fairly simple and straightforward.

First, we need to accept our predicament. We are sinners, and not only can we not do anything about the sins we have committed, but we cannot stop sinning without God's help.

Second, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God's Holy Spirit comes into our lives. He indwells us. We are already forgiven, and God's Spirit teaches us to recognize sin for what it is, and He encourages us to "walk away" from it. We follow Jesus. In this world, we cannot be sinless, but our lives are pointedly attached to Jesus, and we go in the direction He leads us, and we are constantly moving toward the perfection of being like Jesus in every respect.

As we walk to Jesus, we are walking away from sin. When we allow temptation to seize us, we are walking away from Jesus. Years ago, two ministers I knew were at a meeting with a group of us. One was teasing the other about coming in late. He, himself, was exactly on time, and he had passed his brother pastor on the thirty-mile trip. The conversation went like this:

The teased brother, I'll call "Bill," and the other, "Bob." Bill spoke first.

"Brother, does the Holy Spirit ever commit a sin?" Bob hesitated. He knew something was coming, but he didn't know what.

"No. Of course, He doesn't, Bill. We all know that," he said looking around at the rest of us, and grinning.

"Well, Bob, I was driving at the speed limit, and you must have been doing at least ten miles an hour over the speed limit when you passed me. If the Holy Spirit never commits a sin, then you must have left him ten miles behind you, and you couldn't expect Him to protect you. I should have started earlier, but the Holy Spirit was with me all the way."

I think Jesus was not only a "man of sorrows," but was also a person of laughter, and that He didn't mind the bantering of those two. Of course, the Holy Spirit never leaves any Christian, but too often we close our ears when He speaks to us. We have a responsibility to listen, to watch for temptations, and to be ready to walk away from them.


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