Temptation is something we all have to deal with; even Jesus was tempted.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
So, how do you deal with temptation? We can learn a lot from looking at how Jesus dealt with temptation. When He was tempted, He responded with the Word of God. He was quoting the words Moses spoke to the people of Israel to remind them of the lessons they had learned in the wilderness.
3 “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. “
Each time Jesus was tempted, He quoted the Word of God as His only response. It is hard for us to respond the way Jesus did to temptation when we don’t know the Word of God. We need to not only read it daily, but study, meditate on it and memorize it.
How well do you know the word of God? Would you be able to respond to temptation the way Jesus did by quoting His Word? We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to avoid temptations or prevent ourselves from falling into temptation. For most of us, we find ourselves committing the same sins over and over again. Maybe we need a new approach to dealing with those familiar temptations by simply responding with the Word of God.
Make an effort to spend time reading His Word each day. If you are not sure where to start, I would suggest the book of James. It is a short book that is all about how to live your life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. You will find words you can use when tempted and may just find yourself being convicted of things you didn’t even realize were sin while reading it.
I took this photo of a footprint in the sand at the beach a week ago. When I went back and looked at it, instead of looking like an impression of a footprint in the sand, it looked more like a raised footprint built up in the sand. I am not a photographer and can’t explain why it looks so different in the picture than it did in person. It is all about perception.
How often is our perception of a person or a situation skewed by our personal perspective? Too often we look at a person or situation and decide why someone acted a particular way or why a situation turned out a specific way. When we do so, we are ascribing motives and variables than may not exist and our perception may be a bit off.
What if instead of looking for people’s motives, we look at the person; really look at the person the way God looks at us? What if instead of deciding why something has turned out a certain way, we ask God to help us see a situation from His viewpoint? God looks at us and sees His Son. As believers, we are forgiven for our sins because of Christ’s death on the cross. God sees Christ’s perfect sacrifice instead of our sin.
What difference would it make in your relationships if you saw the people in your life as God’s children whom He loves instead of the person or people who hurt your or frustrate you? It is really all a matter of perception. We choose to see others as human with the same sinful nature we have and choose to forgive them or choose to judge them.
What a different year we could experience in 2014 if we chose to see others and situations from God’s perspective rather than our own limited perspective! Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see others and situations the way He does and be willing to show them the love of Christ you have been shown by your Heavenly Father.
Paul continues to talk about God’s light shining into the darkness of the world in these verses.
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
“Notice that it is the ‘deeds’ that have to be shunned, not the doers.”1 We live ‘in’ the world but we are not ‘of’ the world because we belong to Christ. We are not to completely separate ourselves from nonbelievers but we are not do be engaged in sinful behavior with them. If we separate ourselves completely from nonbelievers, who will shine the light of Christ in their lives?
12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
It is not our job to discuss or gossip about the sin of nonbelievers. Instead, Paul uses the imagery of light when exposing sin. “Paul appeals to the effect of light in the natural world. It penetrates wherever it shines, so that everything is lit up by it. In the same way, whenever the light of Christ appears, it shows up sin for what it is.”1 The power of the Holy Spirit can convict people of their sin and show Christ’s light on their activity, revealing it for what it is.
14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
“Paul introduces the quotation as if everybody knew it, but not one knows where it came from. Almost certainly, being in poetry, it is a fragment of an early Christian hymn.” It may be from a hymn sung at baptisms. “Perhaps these were the lines which were sung as those arose from the water, to symbolize the passage from the dark sleep of paganism to the awakened life of the Christian way.”2
As we approach the weekend, look at who you spend your time with. Are you insulated by only spending time with other believers? We are not to become like nonbelievers by taking on their attitudes and actions, rather we are to shine the light of Christ to them. It is hard for us to shine His light into their darkness if we are never around them. Who does God want you to spend some time with so you can shine His light into their situation?
- The Scripture is from http://www.biblegateway.com
- First quote from “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Vol. 11, Zondervan
- Second quote from “The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians”, The Daily Study Bible Series, William Barclay, Westminster Press
| Tags: bible, Christian, church, dark, Ephesians, God, hope, Jesus, light, love, Paul, Sin |
Paul spends a lot of time spelling out the kinds of activities and behavior that are not becoming for the people of God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
It is easy for us to read a passage like this and quickly decide the first couple of behaviors don’t really apply to us and skim over the rest. However, this is precisely what Paul is warning against. Paul wants the people to look carefully at how they are living their lives and recognize their sin as sin. He isn’t doing this to simply give us a list of things we aren’t supposed to do but to help us maintain our spiritual health.
Paul knew the cost of sin to one’s spiritual health and their relationship with the Lord. Remember prior to His blinding encounter with the Lord, his purpose was to find believers and persecute, imprison and kill them. Our sins may not seem as severe as those, but in the eyes of the Lord, sin is sin. It is not categorized into big sins and little sins. The idea of categorizing sin comes from us as a way for us to minimize our sin. We do a lot to justify and rationalize our sins. For example, the term “a little white lie”, is something we have come up with in order to minimize the fact that lying of any kind is a sin.
As we approach the weekend, spend some time rereading this passage. Slow down and read it carefully rather than skimming over it. See if the Lord reveals to you that any of the sins listed in this passage apply to you. I think all of us would be hard pressed not to be able to at least relate to the sins of greed, idolatry and problems with our words. Allow the Lord to help you recognize your sin for what it is and help you turn from it and seek His forgiveness. Then follow that with a time of praise and thanksgiving because He loves you enough to show you ways you are distancing yourself from him through your sin.
In today’s verses Paul addresses anger and how we are to deal with it.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
Paul starts off this passage with some practical ways of living out their new lives in Christ. He first addresses the need to be honest with one another. Any time we choose to exaggerate, distort or lie, we are hurting the body of Christ. We always have a choice in what we say to one another, we can choose to speak the truth or not. With our new lives in Christ, we are called to speak the truth.
Next, Paul addresses the concept of anger. Anger can be a dangerous emotion because if it is not dealt with and settled, it will turn into a root of bitterness in your heart. “Paul’s advice is sound, because the longer we postpone mending a quarrel, the less likely we are ever to mend it.” Paul recommends not letting the sun go down while remaining angry so the anger isn’t carried over into the next day without being addressed.
When we choose to hang onto our anger and allow bitterness to take root in our hearts, we are giving the devil a foothold. The enemy wants nothing more than to prevent us from living the lives God has for us. He can easily do that if we allow our anger to fester.
Are you holding onto any anger? Do you have bitterness your heart? Pray for the Lord to reveal to you areas where you have not resolved your anger. We all get angry at times, but we need to not allow our anger to cause us to sin and not allow our anger to turn to bitterness. We are called to forgive and to seek forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to seek forgiveness from?
- Scripture from http://www.biblegateway.com
- Quote from “The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians”, The Daily Study Bible, William Barclay, Westminster Press.
| Tags: anger, bible, Bitterness, Christian, Ephesians, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Paul, Sin, truth |